Skip Navigation LinksCSR Home > Reviewer Resources > Become a Reviewer > Early Career Reviewer [ECR]

Early Career Reviewer (ECR) Program

Jumpstart Your Research Career with CSR’s Early Career Reviewer Program - Video

Thinking about becoming an Early Career Reviewer? Listen to the experiences of ECRs who have served on NIH Peer Review study sections.

What’s the purpose of the ECR Program?

The NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) Early Career Reviewer (ECR) program was developed to:  

  • Train qualified scientists without prior CSR review experience to become effective reviewers
  • Help emerging researchers advance their careers by exposing them to peer review
  • Enrich the existing pool of NIH reviewers by including scientists from less research-intensive institutions as well as those from traditionally research- intensive institutions  

Who is Eligible?

To qualify for the ECR Program you must:

  • Be a full-time faculty member or researcher in a similar role. (Post-Doctoral Fellows are not eligible, but may become eligible following completion of their training.)
  • Show evidence of an active independent program of research
  • Have recent senior authored research publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Have not served on a CSR study section in a role other than a mail reviewer or ARRA reviewer

Prior NIH funding is NOT a requirement

How to apply?

Send your up-to-date CV and a list of terms that describe your scientific expertise to
. If accepted, you will be asked to provide your NIH Commons ID.  If you do not have one, please talk with your institution’s grants office to set up a Commons Account.  Directions can be found at

What are the benefits?

  • Work side-by-side with some of the most accomplished researchers in your field to help NIH identify the most promising grant applications
  • Learn how reviewers determine overall impact scores
  • Serve the scientific community by participating in NIH peer review
  • Develop research-evaluation and critique-writing skills 
  • Improve your own grant writing skills

What happens after you apply?

Your CV will be vetted by one or more Scientific Review Officers (SRO) at CSR.  You will be notified by email regarding your eligibility for the program.  If accepted, your name and areas of expertise will be added to our ECR database.  You will be contacted directly by an SRO to further discuss your appropriateness for specific study section assignment. 

What does an ECR do?

Once assigned to a study section, you will receive training from an SRO on review procedures including how to write and upload critiques and will be assigned 2 to 4 grant applications to review.  You will attend a study section meeting and participate in the discussion of and voting for all applications.  You can participate in no more than one study section per year and no more than twice total. 

For more information on reviewer responsibilities, please visit the Reviewer Orientation site.

For additional questions about the ECR program, please send an email to