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NIH Biosketch : Contributions to Science

Biosketch Format

The biosketch format used for this library guide is from the NIH Biosketch page and approved through January 31, 2026.

Contributions to Science

For each contribution, indicate the following:

  • the historical background that frames the scientific problem;
  • the central finding(s);
  • the 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.
  • Figures, tables, or graphics are not allowed.

For 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. Note that while you may mention manuscripts that have not yet been accepted for publication as part of your contribution, you may cite only published papers to support each contribution. Research products can include audio or video products (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement, Section Post-Submission Grant Application Materials); 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. Use of hyperlinks and URLs to cite these items is not allowed.

You are allowed to cite interim research products. Note: interim research products have specific citation requirements. See related Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

For examples of research products, see: Definitions, Examples and Distinctions.


Use SciENcv to create a biosketch. My Bibliography will connect to SciENcv, allowing for auto-population of  the biosketch sections for publications and work products.

There are two ways to populate a My Bibliography collection:

To start: select the blue "Add citation" button on the upper right of the main My Bibliography page.

Image mybibliography-Image005.jpg

A drop-down menu box will appear and prompt you to select the publication type to enter or to add the work from PubMed.

Using SciENcv to for Contributions to Science


  • Tailor your contributions to the application.
  • The contributions are a descriptive narrative (“telling a story”) of your research efforts and a means of annotating your research products.
  • Your contributions are about your journey in the field.
    • What did you learn?
    • What were your findings or research products?
    • How did your research lead to this proposal?
  • Contributions can be in any order; chronological, career trajectory, funded projects, topic, relevance to the application, etc.
  • Assign each of your contributions a title.
  • Use Plain Language. Plain language is clear, concise, organized, and appropriate for the intended audience.

Notes: Peer-Reviewed Publications and Other Research Products

  • Non-peer-reviewed articles and research products can be cited in the Personal Statement along with the peer-reviewed publications. Follow the rules for citing Interim Research Products.
  • NIH requires a PMCID for works that apply under the NIH Public Access Policy and are authored by the applicant or arise from an applicant’s NIH award.
  • No specific style guide for citations is required. SciENcv formats citations from My Bibliography using the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Style Guide: Citing Medicine.
  • To save on space for the Personal Statement or Contributions to Science sections, applicants may use ‘et al’ in lieu of listing all authors in a citation.
  • Citations can be reused among the Personal Statement or Contributions to Science sections.
  • Manuscripts being prepared or under peer review can be described in the Personal Statement or the Contributions to Science narrative sections, (e.g. “I am preparing a manuscript for Journal on my work about X”), but not cited.
  • Publications noted in a My Bibliography account can be used to auto-populate the Personal Statement or the Contributions to Science sections.

Notes: Contributions to Science

  • For guidance on Contributions to Science, contact the Program Director at the NIH institute/center (I/C) supporting or most likely to support your award. [Source: NIH]

  • Up to five Contributions to Science are allowed.

  • Contributions to Science can include non-applicant authored publications and research products. [Source:]

  • Publications and research products can be re-used within the same Biosketch among the Contributions to Science narratives. [Source: NIH]

  • Posters and presentations are considered non-publication research products. [Source: NIH]

  • There is no preferred order as to the Contributions to Science. [Source: NIH]

  • Each contribution should be no longer than one half page including citations.

  • Use My Bibliography to auto-populate the publications and research products for Contributions to Science.

  • Databases and data/research materials are not required to be publicly accessible and can be included in the Contributions to Science sections. [Source: NIH]

  • Listen to the podcast (or read the transcript): "Understanding NIH’s Biosketch Requirements" for more insight as to the Contributions to Science section.

  • What advice do you have for new scientists filling out their scientific contributions? It is a little early to tell how each discipline will judge its new scientists. You might want to consult with your colleagues who serve as reviewers in your area of science. In general, reviewers base their expectations for contributions based on the seniority of the person filling out the biosketch. A scientist with one publication may want to summarize the key finding of the paper and its importance in a short contribution. Scientists with no publications may wish to provide a contribution describing their efforts on other peoples’ papers and projects (e.g., I used this method, I conducted the literature review for this paper,  I care for all the animals in this lab, etc.). If a new scientist has no actual research  or thesis experience, they might just want to list one  contribution about their training to date. [Source:]