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Step 3 – Application Assignment and Review Process

Who Reviews Applications? The terms for review groups are often used interchangeably. Integrated Review Groups or Initial Review Groups (IRGs) are made up of clusters of related Review Committees (standing committees). In this section we will use the term Review Committee, although other terms you may see used throughout NIH are: Scientific Review Group (SRG), Review Group or Study Section. There are also committees that meet for one time only called Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs). The Review Committees and Special Emphasis Panels are comprised of scientists, and sometimes public members with a specific expertise, who have the responsibility to read and assess the merit of applications. This process is called peer review and it is organized and administered by scientific review administrators (SRAs) who convene the review groups.

Once you have submitted your application, it is then assigned to an NIH Institute or Center for potential funding, and to a review group in order for it to be assessed for its scientific merit. After the application has been assessed for its scientific merit, it is then assessed for its relevance to the public health mission of the potential funding Institute or Center. It is important to understand all aspects of the assignment and review process while preparing your application.

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