Research grants to extramural scientists represent more than 80 percent of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. The agency’s Office of Extramural Research (OER) provides the infrastructure to make this happen, whether it is through developing policies and procedures or providing electronic systems, among other things, for extramural staff across NIH’s 27 institutes, centers, and offices and “for more than 166,000 external users in 24,000 research institutions worldwide.”
OER recently released its 2013-2014 report. OER director Sally Rockey notes that the report looks back at 2013 and 2014 and includes examples of the impact OER has had on “ensuring scientific program and research integrity; facilitating the grants application and award processes through continued advances of electronic systems; and improving open communication, collaboration, and transparency across NIH, the federal government, and the extramural research community.” Copies of the report are available here.
In addition, NIH has sponsored an ongoing evaluation of peer review since the introduction of the Enhancing Peer Review changes. In a recent blog post, Rockey encouraged the scientific community to respond to OER’s surveys regarding the peer review process, noting that OER devotes a considerable amount of effort to evaluating grants policies and practices.