Public Law 101-509, Title III, the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, established a 350 member Senior Biomedical Research Service (SBRS) within the Public Health Service (PHS). This legislation created a pay and personnel system for NIH scientists that would provide them with appropriate compensation, based on surveys of market comparability. The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 increased the maximum number of SBRS positions from 350 to 500.
Total membership in the SBRS for all of the PHS may not exceed 500 members at any time. NIH is currently allotted 337 SBRS positions. To qualify for the SBRS, potential members must possess a doctoral-level degree in biomedicine or a related field and meet or exceed OPM qualification standards for the GS-15 level. SBRS was created for scientists who are actively engaged in peer-reviewed, original, biomedical research, who are considered by their peers to be outstanding in this work, or for those actively engaged in clinical research evaluation and who are considered by their peers to be outstanding.
Salary for a SBRS member ranges from GS-15 to Executive Level 1 (EX-1). The Director, NIH, has the authority to determine the pay of SBRS members below EX-II, while pay between EX-II and EX-I must be approved by the Secretary, HHS.
SBRS members are NOT eligible for the Physicians Comparability Allowance (PCA), but are eligible for performance awards, recruitment, relocation, or retention bonuses. They may qualify for incentive cash awards on the same basis as other employees, with approval by the NIH Director. Only SBRS base pay is considered for retirement and insurance purposes.
For current NIH employees, the nomination process begins with
submission by the IC Director of a prioritized nomination list of
scientists for consideration. The nomination includes a brief
narrative describing the scientific achievements and honors of the
individual, justification for the use of SBRS, and recommendation of
a pay level with justification for that rate. The nomination package
includes: a current CV/bibliography, a list of the five most
significant publications with copies of each, the most recent Board
of Scientific Counselors' Report, and a list of six or more
professional references, the majority from outside NIH. For outside
recruits, a search history and summary of grant/funding history are
submitted in place of the BSC Report, and reference letters are
submitted instead of a list. Final decisions on appointments to the
SBRS (based on the recommendations of the SBRS Policy Board) are made
by the NIH Director.