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Let NIH Matchmaker find your ‘perfect match’

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is made up of 27 institutes and centers – 24 of which can make grant awards. Each institute and center (IC) has a distinct mission that focuses on a specific disease area, organ system or stage of life.

When considering a submission to a specific Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the NIH encourages principal investigators (PIs) to email the scientific contact listed on the FOA to obtain feedback on their project’s alignment with the FOA – and the participating IC’s research priorities.

But how do PIs get started when they are uncertain which IC would support their research – or which funding mechanism to apply for?

Consider using NIH Matchmaker, a tool within NIH Reporter, at the project ideation stage to answer several key questions:

  • Which IC would be the best match for the proposed research?
  • What funding mechanisms and FOAs have been used to support similar projects?
  • What program officers (PO) manage portfolios of similar research?
  • What study sections might be the best choice for requesting review assignment when submitting a proposal to the NIH?

Matchmaker allows users to enter up to 15,000 characters of scientific text (e.g., title, abstract, research bio, specific aims) and uses natural language processing to analyze the frequency of key terms and concepts that appear within that submitted text. It then returns a list of the top 500 projects currently funded by the NIH, ranked by “match score” – with higher scores indicating a higher degree of relevance. Matchmaker can also generate a list of POs who manage funded research that most closely matches the scientific text entered.

Matchmaker is not only a great tool for identifying the best ICs to reach out to as you put together an application. It can also help you identify potential collaborators, potential mentors, or, in the case of a trainee, potential labs to move into for that next stage in their career.

Visit NIH’s YouTube channel for a “how to” guide for new users

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