NIH Scientific Staff

When you ask people overly simplistic and broad “gotcha” questions in a provocative and accusatory manner, you shouldn’t be surprised to receive glib uninformative answers. If you develop genuine professional relationships with Program Officers and Scientific Review Officers within NIH and treat them like the fellow scientists they are, you will receive thoughtful honest answers.


  1. Beaker says

    This has been my experience. When communicating with Program Officers, if you frame your question in a way that allows them to frame their answer in programmatic terminology, you will receive useful information. If you send them a draft of an aims page and ask how to improve it to best fit their NIH portfolio (or suggest a better portfolio), they will help. If instead you ask why the hell did my last application get reviewed by fucken idiot reviewer 3, your answer might be no more than a sentence or two.

    On a related note, in what situations is it appropriate/inappropriate to discuss issues with an SRO rather than a Program Officer? I know you cannot discuss details of a prior review, but is it appropriate to pitch you new ideas to the SRO, bypassing the Program Officer? After all, the SRO is more intimately aware of what topics have a chance to score well in the study section.

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