Biosketch Writing Tips
A biosketch is used to highlight an individual’s qualifications for a specific role in a proposed project. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires a biosketch for senior/key persons applying for or renewing NIH grants.
Your biosketch may not exceed five pages per person. Figures, graphics, or embed files (e.g. video, graphics, sound, data) are not allowed.
- eRA Commons User Name: An eRA Commons is an online interface where signing officials, principal investigators, trainees and post-docs at institutions or organizations can access and share administrative information relating to research grants.This field is required for the program director/principal investigator, primary sponsors of fellowship applicants, all mentors of candidates for mentored career development awards, and candidates for diversity and reentry research supplements.
- Education/Training: Begin with baccalaureate or other initial professional education, such as nursing. Include postdoctoral, residency, and clinical fellowship training, as applicable, listing each separately. For each entry provide the name and location of the institution, the degree received, and the month and year of end date (or expected end date).
- Personal Statement: In your statement describe why you are well-suited to participate in this project. This may include aspects of your training, previous work on this specific topic or related topics, technical expertise, or past performance in this field. You may cite up to four publications or research products that highlight your experience and qualifications for this project. Research products can include, but are not limited to, audio or video products; conference proceedings such as meeting abstracts, posters, or other presentations; patents; data and research materials; databases; educational aids or curricula; instruments or equipment; models; protocols; and software or netware.
- Positions and Honors: In chronological order list the positions you’ve held that are relevant to this application, concluding with your current position. High school students and undergraduates may include any previous positions. Additionally, list any relevant academic and/or professional achievements and honors. This includes scholarships, traineeships, fellowships, and development awards as they relate to the position. As a clinician you should include information on any clinical licenses or specialty board certifications.
- Contributions to Science: All senior/key persons should complete the following section except candidates for research supplements to promote diversity in health-related research who are high school students, undergraduates, and post-baccalaureates.Briefly describe up to five of your most significant contributions to science. The description of each contribution should be no longer than one half page, including citations. For each contribution, indicate historical background that frames the scientific problem, the central finding(s), influence of the finding(s) on the progress of science or the application of those finding(s) to health or technology, and your specific role in the described work. With each contribution, you may cite up to four publications or research products that are relevant to the contribution. If you are not the author of the product, indicate what your role or contribution was.
- Research Support: This section highlights your accomplishments, and those of your colleagues, as scientists. List ongoing and completed research projects from the past three years that you want to draw attention to. Briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and your responsibilities. Do not include the number of person months or direct costs.
- Scholastic Performance:
- Predoctoral applicants List by institution and year all undergraduate and graduate courses, with grades. In addition, explain any grading system used if it differs from a 1-100 scale; an A, B, C, D, F system; or a 0-4.0 scale. Also indicate the levels required for a passing grade.
- Postdoctoral applicants: List by institution and year all graduate scientific and/or professional courses with grades. In addition, explain any grading system used if it differs from a 1-100 scale; an A, B, C, D, F system; or a 0-4.0 scale. Also indicate the levels required for a passing grade.
Adapted from the National Institutes of Health Instructions for a Biographical Sketch.
- Non-fellowship Biosketch Example
- Predoctoral Fellowship Biosketch Example
- Postdoctoral Fellowship Biosketch Example
Adapted from the National Institutes of Health Biosketch Format Pages.