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Communicating Research Intent and Value in NIH Applications

It is vital that the NIH makes information about the scientific projects that we fund available to the public and Congress in a way that clearly relays the value and potential impact of the research on public health.

You can help us achieve this goal by clearly communicating the intent and value of your research using clear, succinct, professional language in titles, abstracts, and statements of public health relevance in your NIH grant application. Reviewers are currently being notified to expect plain language in these sections of your application. Once funded, these parts of your application are also available to Congress and the public via the NIH's RePORTER website.

Of course reviewers will need the technical detail to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of your application. Include this information in the research plan and in the other sections of the application where it is appropriate.  

Tips on communicating the value of your research clearly:

  1. Remember that the audience reading the title, abstract and public health relevance statements may not be scientists.  
  2. Avoid scientific jargon or technical writing.
  3. Communicate the bigger picture. State what you are proposing, why it is important, and explain the potential impact on public health.

We understand the challenge it can be to strike a balance between being too scientific and too colloquial which may lead to misinterpretations of the research value.  However, a great idea expressed in a manner understood by an educated audience will speak for itself. 

If you have any questions about the language in your abstract, title, or statement of public health relevance, contact an NIH Program Official prior to submitting your application.

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This page last updated on April 27, 2016
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