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Strategy for NIH Funding
Navigation for the Strategy for NIH Funding. Link to Part 1. Qualify for NIH Funding. Link to Part 2. Pick and Design a Project. Link to Part 3. Write Your Application. Link to Part 4. Submit Your Application. Link to Part 5. Assignment and Review. Link to Part 6. If Not Funded. Link to Part 7. Funding.

Previous page in Strategy.Strategy for Second-Level Review   ·   Part 6. If Not FundedNext page in Strategy.

Council's Second-Level Review

This page of facts tells you only what our advisory Council's second-level review does and what it doesn't do.

Contact your program officer quickly if you have any administrative concerns noted on your summary statement, such as human subjects or research animals.

If your application undergoes expedited second-level review, you may receive your grant several weeks earlier than you would if your application had to wait for the Council meeting.

Second-level review has three outcomes: recommended or not recommended for funding or deferred for another review by the study section.

Table of Contents

(This page has factual information only.)

Second-Level Review Is a Smaller Hurdle

NIAID's main advisory Council must recommend an application for funding before we can award a grant, although the Institute makes the final funding decision.

Once you've cleared the hurdle of initial peer review by getting a fundable score, second-level review is a small step.

Our Council looks at administrative issues and applications that may receive special funding.

Second-level review is not a second scientific review. Rather, it looks at applications with potential barriers to funding such as human subjects and animal concerns, or special circumstances such as foreign applications and renewal applications requesting more money than the limit.

Generally, our Council will not recommend your application for funding until you resolve any study section concerns.

This step usually means sending us more information. Contact your program officer quickly if you see problematic animal or human codes on your summary statement.

Second-Level Review Is Faster for Some Applications

NIAID uses expedited review for applications that meet certain criteria.

About eight weeks before each Council meeting, a subset of members performs an electronic expedited review for some applications.

We use this expedited process for applications that meet both of the following criteria:

  • Rank within their payline.
  • Have no concerns (e.g., human or animal codes) from the study section.

Expedited review lets us make awards several months earlier than would otherwise be possible.

  • For the first two Councils—January or February and May or June—we can fund grants a few weeks after the initial peer review meeting.
  • Because September Council reviews applications for funding in the next fiscal year, those applicants may have to wait to get their awards until after we receive our new appropriation.

Only three people perform the expedited review; then, the full Council ratifies the results at the meeting. Any Council member participating in an expedited review may request that an application be reviewed by the full Council.

All other applications have a regular second-level review at the Council meeting. NIAID makes those awards a few weeks after the meeting. Find the Council meeting schedule on the Advisory Council portal.

Outcomes of Second-Level Review

Council recommends an application for funding. NIAID makes the final decision.

Whether the review was expedited or not, Council makes one of the following decisions for each application:

  • Recommended for funding.
  • Not recommended for funding.
  • Deferred for re-review by the study section.

When Council recommends an application for funding, that doesn't necessarily mean it will receive an award. NIAID makes the final decision.

We may not fund your application for various reasons: due to administrative issues that need to be resolved or because your application scored beyond the payline.

We will notify you within six to eight weeks after the advisory Council meeting whether we will fund your application, earlier if it underwent expedited second-level review.

Time to award could take longer if the study section had human or animal concerns or you have a complex type of grant. If you experience a delay, talk to your program officer for advice.

For information on funding decisions, read How NIAID Makes Funding Decisions in Part 7.

Read more about what Council does at Concepts May Turn Into Initiatives in NIAID Funding Opportunity Planning and the Budget Cycle.

More Resources



Strategy for NIH Funding
Navigation for the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Previous page in Strategy.Strategy for Second-Level Review   ·   Part 6. If Not FundedNext page in Strategy.

See the other sections of
Part 5. Assignment and Review

Table of Contents for the Strategy

We welcome your comments, questions, or suggestions. Email

Last Updated November 03, 2011

Last Reviewed September 30, 2011