Review Guidelines for Grant Applications
It is important to keep in mind the five criteria that reviewers are asked to apply when assessing the majority of grant applications. As defined in Step 2 these are: significance, approach, innovation, investigator and environment. Other criteria may be considered for other grant mechanisms. For an overview of the instructions given to reviewers for assessment of NIH grant applications see Review Guidelines.
Identifying the Most Appropriate Review Committee for Your Grant
While the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) retains the responsibility for making the final determination concerning assignment of grant applications to a particular review committee, it is in your best interest to be familiar with the available choices and to express your opinion at the time of application submission (see cover letter section in Step 2).
To help identify the most appropriate review committee, look at the mission statements and recent rosters for each review committee. These can be found using the search feature or related links at:
One other type of review is the Special Emphasis Panel (SEP). These are special committees of ad hoc experts that usually meet only once for the review of a specific set of applications. These types of applications may include: applications submitted in response to a specific Request for Applications (RFA); or applications for specific grant mechanisms that are submitted only once per year, among others. Because SEPs are set up on an as-needed basis, applicants cannot request a specific SEP. You can look for your assigned SEP and roster just prior to the review on this list of SEPs. The SEP codes will have the prefixes "ZRG1" for CSR review or "ZMH1" for NIMH review. (Please note that ZMH1 SRC 99 is a holding code only for all review committees convened by NIMH, including those subsequently assigned to standing review committees or SEPs.)
The actual review of your application in the assigned review committee takes place a few months after the receipt deadline. For information about meeting dates see Meeting Schedules for Scientific Review Group Meetings.