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Peer Review of Grant Applications

Grant applications sent to NIH are given two separate assignments at the time of submission: 1) An assignment to a particular NIH Institute (e.g., NIMH) which will have administrative and funding responsibility for that application; and 2) An assignment to a committee which will conduct a peer review of the scientific and technical merits of the application and assign a priority score. The NIH Institute given funding responsibility for a particular grant application relies on the independent scientific merit evaluation by the peer review committee combined with its own strategic and administrative evaluations to determine whether or not to award funds. At NIH these two processes of peer review and funding are kept separate, intentionally, to prevent any potential conflicts of interest.

NIMH grant applications are either reviewed through study sections organized and run by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), which serves all funding Institutes or Centers of the NIH, or through committees at the NIMH Extramural Review Branch.

Generally NIMH Extramural Review Branch committees review the following:

  1. Applications for mental health treatment interventions and services research
  2. Applications submitted in response to specific NIMH RFAs, PARs and PAs
  3. Applications in response to some expedited review programs (e.g., the RAPID program)
  4. Specific grant applications types, such as:
    • Centers (P50s, P30s, P20s)
    • Research Infrastructure (R24s)
    • Education (R25s)
    • Institutional Training (T32s)
    • Career Opportunities in Research Education and Training (T34s)
    • Mental Health Dissertation Grants (R36s)
    • Developing/Exploratory Clinical Research (R34s)
    • Cooperative Agreements
    • B-STARTs (R03s)
  5. Other specialized applications for which an appropriate CSR committee may not exist.

All other applications are assigned to the appropriate committee at CSR. CSR considers applicant requests for review group assignment. If the request is appropriate to the referral guidelines and does not pose a conflict, it will be honored. If you are unsure about where your application will be reviewed, send an inquiry to