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Applying to be a Public Reviewer


NIMH staff conducts full day trainings for public reviewers. Staff selects nominees to attend the training, based on mental health interests and experience and consideration of demographic and geographic factors. The Institute seeks a demographically and geographically diverse pool of public participant reviewers, and nominations of individuals from historically under-represented groups are welcome.

After participating in training sessions, public reviewers may be selected to serve on scientific review groups (SRGs). In serving in this capacity, they are full-voting members of the SRGs, and they follow all the usual guidelines and rules of reviews that scientific reviewers follow.

In preparation for review groups, reviewers will receive applications about six weeks prior to the meeting. Reviewers are asked to read the applications and provide critiques, according to in the review criteria for each type of application. Reviewers typically spend several hours reviewing each application and writing critiques.

Critiques from public reviewers typically focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the application’s public health significance and/or innovation; on the feasibility of plans for recruitment, retention, and follow-up of subjects; on outreach efforts to special and historically disadvantaged populations; and on issues pertaining to the protection of human subjects.

At review meetings, public reviewers join the discussion of applications with scientific reviewers and vote on the merit of each application discussed. As mentioned on the previous page, the role of the public reviewer is to help represent the consumer, end user, clinician, caregiver, and/or policy maker perspectives to NIMH’s research activities. As the public representative in the peer review process, it is very important to focus on the collective perspective and needs of people affected by mental disorders during discussions about grant applications, rather than voicing personal or political agendas or engaging in advocacy.

Review meetings are typically held in the Washington, DC area or by telephone conference call. Written critiques provided by scientific and public reviewers, with minimal editing, are included in the summary statement (the report released to applicants as the official record of their review).


To be selected as an NIMH public reviewer, submit your application through the link below. Once you enter the application website, you will not be able to save your work, so please be ready to submit the following information before entering the website:

  • Resume (in Microsoft Word format)
  • Contact Information
  • Reason for Interest in Public Reviewer position
  • Relevant experience:
    1. With mental disorders as a mental health care practitioner, payer or policy maker
    2. As a research participant in studies of mental disorders
    3. In a community service setting involving representation of interests and perspectives of people with mental disorders (e.g., service on mental health boards or committees, relevant publications or presentations)
    4. As someone personally affected by or with a mental disorder (e.g., as a person with a mental disorder, a family member, caregiver or supporter of such a person)
  • Availability for in-person meetings and/or teleconferences for review cycles

When you are ready to respond to each of the above issues, please proceed to the application section.

Please be aware that this is a secure website and that any information you provide is held in the strictest confidence.

NIMH staff will review applications once a substantial number are submitted. Please understand that there may be some time before we will be able to respond to your submission, and we thank you in advance for your patience.