Prior to the meeting, reviewers are assigned to your application.

  • Your scientific review officer (SRO) will analyze the content of your application, check for completeness and compliance with policies, and decide which reviewers can best evaluate it.
  • Reviewers have access to your application approximately 6 weeks before the study section meeting. Each application is assigned to three or more reviewers, and at least two of them provide full written critiques. These assigned reviewers lead the discussion at the meeting.
  • Before the scientific review group meets, reviewers confidentially submit preliminary critiques. Reviewers also assign preliminary scores for each review criterion and for the overall impact of the application.
  • The SRO then uses the preliminary overall impact scores to generate a preliminary list of applications to be discussed. Applications in the lower half are not typically discussed. Review order for the discussed applications is random.

The review meeting is convened.

  • Study sections convene for 1 to 2 days. One member serves as chair and conducts the meeting with the SRO.
  • Assigned reviewers present their evaluations and any mail reviews are read. After a general discussion, all reviewers at the meeting privately submit overall impact scores to CSR.
  • Relevant NIH program staff are encouraged to attend, but do not participate in the discussion.

The results are released to you.

  • Within a few days after the meeting, your priority score and percentile ranking are available to you via your eRA Commons account.
  • In most cases, your summary statement will be available via eRA Commons within a month. It will include the written critiques provided by the assigned reviewers, the SRO’s summary of the discussion, scores for each review criterion, and administrative notes of special consideration.
  • If your application was not discussed, you will receive the reviewer critiques and preliminary scores for each review criterion.

The assigned NIH institute or center takes charge.

  • After the review, a program officer (PO) at the funding institute to which your application has been assigned will be your main point of contact. He or she may help interpret your review results and give you guidance in preparing a resubmission.
  • In a second level of review, the advisory council of the funding institute will consider the study section’s recommendations and determine the relevance of your proposed research to the institute’s priorities and public health needs.