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Cover Letter

NIH strongly recommends that you include a cover letter with your application indicating the specific NIH Institute or Center (IC) that you believe should have primary assignment of your application, and which review committee would be most appropriate to review the application. The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) retains the responsibility for making the final determinations concerning assignment of applications to an IC and a particular review committee (study section) at CSR. However, it is in your best interest to be familiar with the available choices and to express your opinion in the cover letter.

  • In the cover letter, describe the link between your recommended assignment and the mission of that IC.
  • Indicate which review committee you feel contains the appropriate expertise to assess the scientific merits of your application. Applications are assigned to review committees at CSR or at individual ICs.
  • Questions about the assignment should be directed to the program officer. Be sure to see Step 3 for information on the Assignment and Review Process.
  • If applications are in response to a Request for Applications (RFA) be sure to include the announcement number and title in the cover letter and face page.
  • Check your eRA Commons account for assignments. This information is available within six to eight weeks after submission.

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