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Friday, August 9, 2013

The Risks of Name-Dropping in Applications

From NIAID Funding Newsletter

You may find yourself tempted to name key personnel other than formal coinvestigators, consultants, and collaborators in your application, but we advise against doing so.

It's an understandable impulse—after all, applicants know about the "Investigators" review criterion and they want to show that they're well-connected in their areas of science. However, naming people who aren't involved, even as members of outside advisory panels, doesn't bolster claims of quality.

Name-dropping may also make your review more challenging, since doing so restricts the potential pool of reviewers. To avoid conflict of interest, review staff can't allow those you mention or suggest to review your application. That includes those in your immediate area of science who might otherwise have been your closest allies.

Instead of suggesting appropriate reviewers by name, you could use your cover letter to list the types of scientific expertise that would be ideal for the review committee.

For more advice on finding your ideal reviewers and making the cover letter request, see Investigate Committees and Members in Part 3 of our Strategy for NIH Funding.

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