The "study" role of past National Institutes of Health study sections

Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Sep;23(17):3281-4. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-06-0448.


The original National Institutes of Health (NIH) study sections had two missions. The review of grant applications was the enduring one that we all recognize. The second original function, less remembered today, was to stand ready to advise the NIH, and in fact the entire community in a given biomedical field, on the current state of that discipline, as well as to opine on what new vistas were arising and to suggest (or occasionally even launch) appropriate courses of action. The present contribution is intended to remind us of this lesser-known original function of NIH study sections. We might ponder whether today's study sections, although more overworked than Sisyphus, should again take up this second function.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Humans
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)*
  • Peer Review, Research
  • United States