[^] NIH Center for Scientific Review Workshop Summary - Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science

NIH Center for Scientific Review Workshop Summary

Letter from the Steering Committee Chair
Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science

May 15, 2007

Dear Council Members,
Greetings to you all!! As the Council the for Advancement of Nursing Science (the Council) has matured, we recognize a clear need for regular communication among the membership to share upcoming events, solicit feedback on scientific issues, and share Council news. To that end, we will shortly be sending you electronic quarterly newsletters whose form and content will evolve as we gain experience with our membership’s needs and feedback.

As a sample of information that the Council Newsletter will contain, this is a brief summary of the meeting that I attended on behalf of the Council: Center for Scientific Review (CSR) Open House Workshop for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Study Sections at the National Institutes of Health on April 25, 2007. Other nurse scientists joining the discussion were Dean Marion Broome, from Indiana University, who represented the Midwest Nursing Research Society, Professor Janet Larson, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, who represented the Nursing Science: Adults and Older Adults Study Section (NSAA), and Associate Dean Deborah Gross, from Rush University, who represented the Nursing Science: Children and Families Study Section (NSCF). Drs. Gertrude McFarland (NSAA) and Melinda Tinkle (NSCF), Scientific Review Administrators from the Nursing Science Study Sections, were also in attendance.

Critical Questions

Approximately 200 scientists from a variety of disciplines, study section chairs, NIH staff, and representatives from scientific societies and from the public were gathered to answer two questions:

Is the science of your discipline, in its present state, appropriately evaluated within the current study section alignment?
What will be the most important questions and/or enabling technologies you see forthcoming within the science of your discipline in the next 10 years?

Update from CSR

While the answers to these questions are quite illuminating and are described below, I’ve listed other important points of discussion from the CSR leadership that are also relevant to those scientists interested in federal submissions:

There are ongoing efforts to ensure that CSR study sections are appropriately aligned and prepared for the future.
Prior to the recent (2006) reorganization of study sections, more than 80% were "captive" to an Institute or Center (I/C). Reorganization has instead led to a reduction in captivity of the study sections, which are now better focused on topic areas. (Note: The Nursing Science Sections have moved definitively in this direction and are not captive study sections).
Study sections were designed to: 1) Be focused on cross-cutting issues such as lifespan or a variety of species; 2) Involve scientific leaders in relevant disciplines; 3) Be populated by scientists with backgrounds in biological and behavioral sciences, risk prevention and health behavior, and health of the population; 4) Evaluate scientific merit without regard to funding institutes.
The number of reviews and reviewers is escalating. Five years ago there were 46,000 applications; this year there were 80,000 applications.
The recommendation for shorter proposals is most likely moving forward. As compared to the current 25-page R01 application guideline, there will likely be more focus on innovation and significance and less emphasis on preliminary findings and approach (73% of scientists were "for" a shorter application, and 27% were "against.").
There is ongoing consideration of eliminating submission deadlines and making grant submission rolling without deadlines.
New methods are needed to make it easier for reviewers: asynchronous reviews, telephone reviews, extending time on an R01 award by 3 months so that scientists would be able to serve on a study section.

Discussion from Scientists from Diverse Disciplines about Two Questions of Interest to CSR

Is the science of your discipline, in its present state, appropriately evaluated within the current study section alignment?
Nursing science participants stressed that the answer was strongly in the affirmative. In general, the audience expressed satisfaction that their discipline was evaluated appropriately, but that the following issues needed to be considered:

Expertise of reviewers

Reviewers need to have breadth to review widely and to meet the challenge of reviewing all substantive and technical areas of interdisciplinary research
Reviewing innovative research is a special challenge
Diverse expertise on study sections is needed for effective review: balance between breadth/diversity versus depth with interdisciplinary dialogue as a critical element of review
Disciplines may be insufficiently represented: social work, emergency medicine, toxicology
Gaps in study section expertise are: translation, dissemination, and sustainability

Under-representation of some topics

Some topics that seem to be under-represented are sleep, pain, neuron-psychology, treatment science, social psychology, sociology, learning and cognition, anthropology, neurobiology, early development, cultural aspects of interventions, new theoretical methods, interdisciplinary perspectives, qualitative methods

Attention to Advances in Science

Advances in research and analytic methods are needed; study sections are too often wedded to a single approach or design; populate study sections with a breadth of expertise in varied research methods to evaluate cutting edge applications

What will be the most important question and/or enabling technologies you see forthcoming within the science of your discipline in the next 10 years?

Overall focus

•Emphasis on symptom management in addition to cure or prevention
*Genetics and behavior: genomics, personalized medicine, candidate genes, phenotyping, environment-gene interplay (biological, social, neighborhood, organization, community); epi-genetics; biological   markers as risk factors coupled with a psychosocial intervention
*Role of built environment (effect of toxins on air, water, and behavior on health)
*Impact of non-neurological processes on behavior (infectious diseases and inflammatory processes)

Research Methods

*Computational models connecting behavioral science and neuroscience; models characterizing behavior; developing methods for merging and analyzing data from a variety of sources; integration of fine scale (biologically relevant) data and large scale population data; developing and implementing data mining techniques; design of complex surveillance, intervention, and longitudinal studies
*Measurement: Dynamic sampling, automated measures, incorporation of biological variables, imaging, moving lab technologies into the field, early detection and intervention, use of consumer devices (Global Positioning Systems; Personal Digital Assistants), remote sensing, virtual reality, computer analysis of text, simulation, analysis of electronic records, in vivo assessment of individuals, small assay analysis, use of non-invasive assays
*Data management: mixed statistical methods and designs, database access, shared or large datasets, dissemination, informatics, archiving; ethical implications of data sharing
*Translation: cost effectiveness of behavioral interventions, changing demographics
*Community-based participatory research
*Economics, ethics, genomics, consumer health, informatics, policy analysis, political science

I hope this information is helpful to you all. I would be glad to answer any questions about the CSR Workshop. Please pass this information to your colleagues and encourage them to become members of the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science by logging in to http://www.nursingscience.org/. Look for your first electronic Council Newsletter early this summer, and remember to register for our 2007 Special Topics Conference, Practice-Based Evidence: Another Side of the Development Coin, October 24th, 2007, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D. C. See you there, and have a great summer!



Marilyn (Lynn) S. Sommers, PhD, RN, FAAN
Steering Committee Chair, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
[email protected]