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NIH Biographical Sketch Format

Last updated on April 19, 2018

NIH and AHRQ typically require use of the biosketch in applications for grants and cooperative agreements. A biosketch is used to highlight each individual's qualifications for a specific role in the proposed project. This is an NIH for, but it is used by many sponsors including federal, state and private.

General Information and Highlights of the Biosketch:

  • Consists of 4 sections: Personal Statement, Positions and Honors, Contributions to Science, and Research Support
  • Limited to 5 pages
  • Figures, tables and graphics are not allowed
  • Section C-Contribution to Science, requires researchers to describe their most significant contributions (not to exceed 5). Each description should be limited to one-half page or less and should summarize the following:
    • Provide historical background that frames the scientific problem
    • Outline findings of prior work, and subsequent effect
    • Describe their roles in the discoveries
    • Reference up to 4 peer-reviewed publications or non-publication research products for each discovery
    • OPTIONAL: provide a link (URL) to a full list of publications.  The URL must be to a Federal Government website (a .gov suffix).  NIH recommends using My Bibliography

Principal Investigator's Responsibilities (per Service Partnership Agreement):

  • Principal Investigators shall maintain publications in MyNCBI. If designated administrative staff are available, assist with section C-Contributions to Science, including looking up PubMed Central Identifiers (PMCIDs).
  • Principal Investigators shall maintain biosketch templates and update with PMCIDs, as needed. Review My bibliography component in MyNCBI for accuracy. Retain versions sent by RSC and work from updated document.
  • Principal Investigators shall review key personnel biosketches for content.



Biosketch Templates and Instructions

Advance (UCSF Academic Affairs - Faculty Information System)



 PubMed Central (PMC)

UCSF Faculty and Staff


If you have additional questions, please contact [email protected] or (301) 435-0714.