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Last Updated: 11/9/12

Research Resources

What’s New with NIH Peer Review?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a world-renown peer review system designed to enable NIH to assess the merit of each grant application in a consistent and non-biased way. After a year of assessment, NIH identified four priority areas of change needed for the current peer review system: engaging the best reviewers; improving the quality and transparency of review; ensuring balanced and fair reviews across scientific fields and career stages, while reducing administrative burden; and continuing to review the system of peer review. Enhancements to the NIH peer review system based on the priority areas are now underway.

NIH’s Center for Scientific Review has been setting the stage for these changes with both NIH staff and the broader scientific research community through communications such as policy notices in the Guide for Grants and Contracts, briefings to NIH Councils, training for NIH staff, press releases, newsletter articles, and listserv communications. In addition to providing these resources, the Enhancing Peer Review Web site is continually updated with new content, such as a video presentation that was posted in March 2009. Scientific Review Officers have been communicating with reviewers and preparing them for the training they will receive as the spring review meetings commence.

For an overview of the timetable for implementing the changes to the peer review system, see NOT-OD-09-023 ( For more information, please visit the Enhancing Peer Review Web site at

Learn More About NCI Funded Research Projects

Each year, NCI supports approximately 450 cancer CAM research projects. If you are interested in learning more about these NCI projects or other CAM research projects funded by other Institutes at NIH, you will find multiple federal Web sites and databases designed to help in your search. Three public resources that are available to help you to locate this type of information are the Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT) (, Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects (CRISP) (, and the NCI Funded Research Portfolio (


RePORT is an NIH Web site that provides access to reports, data, and analyses related to the comprehensive NIH research portfolio. Launched in February 2008, RePORT includes the NIH biennial report, strategic plans for the individual NIH Institutes and Centers, budget and spending information, success rates, funded investigators, and extramural institution data. It also showcases the NIH’s new, consistent and transparent process for categorizing and reporting research projects called the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC). RCDC uses 215 categories to describe research projects, one of which is Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

By selecting Categorical Spending from the RePORT home page, you can find the RCDC table, which displays fiscal year funding amounts for grants, contracts, and other funding mechanisms. By clicking on the FY 2008 Actual link in the category Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the system will populate a list of all of the NIH-funded CAM projects. You will find the name of the primary funding NIH Institute, project number, project title, principle investigator’s name, institution, state, and funding amount available for each project.


RePORT now also hosts the CRISP database. CRISP contains information on federally funded research projects and programs supported by agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). These research projects are primarily extramural and are conducted by universities, hospitals, and other research institutions. In addition to information on extramural projects, grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements, you will also find information on intramural programs of the NIH and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The best way to search CRISP for cancer CAM projects funded by NCI is to choose NCI from the Institutes and Centers list and use the Search Terms box to search for specific topics within CAM. Watch over the next year for new features in CRISP, as the database is updated to include budget information and links to publications and patents that are a result of the NIH-funded research.

NCI Funded Research Portfolio

If you are only interested in locating information about NCI research projects, use the NCI Funded Research Portfolio, which was introduced last summer as a replacement for the Cancer Research Portfolio. The search functions and overall navigation make this database a user-friendly way to access information about NCI-funded research grants, contract awards, and intramural research projects.

To find grants investigating a specific CAM therapy, for example acupuncture, use the keyword search on the home page. The Portfolio’s Advanced Search page allows you to search more specifically with options including: fiscal year, research topic, project type, cancer type, funding mechanism, NCI Division, project number, principal investigator, and research institution.

To locate information on CAM using the Advanced Search page, select one of the following complementary and alternative approaches drop-downs under Research Type (Common Scientific Outline [CSO]):

  • Complementary and Alternative Prevention Approaches
  • Complementary and Alternative Treatment Approaches
  • Complementary and Alternative Approaches for Supportive Care of Patients and Survivors

The above list does not include all of NCI’s CAM projects, so also try searching other Research Types including:

  • Behavior Related to Cancer Control
  • Interventions to Prevent Cancer: Personal Behaviors that Affect Cancer Risk
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Patient Care & Survivorship Issues

Before you begin, determine whether you want to search for NCI-funded projects or projects funded by other Institutes at NIH. These three resources will provide helpful instructions and answers to frequently asked questions to guide you as you search.

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