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NIAID Advisory Council Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Where can I find information about Council?

Find basic information about Council and meeting dates and agendas on the Advisory Council portal, including:

What is Council?

Our main advisory Council is a chartered committee that provides a diverse perspective on science, health, and the human impact of disease.

Council has four main roles: performing second-level review, advising NIAID on policy, reviewing programs, and developing and clearing concepts for funding future science directions.

See NIAID's Council—Our Chief Advisory Committee for more information.

Do all NIH institutes have an advisory Council?

Yes. By law, each institute at NIH must have an advisory Council. At NIAID, we have the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council; NAAIDC for short. To read the law, go to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1992 (P.L. 92-463) link from Laws and Regulations That Affect NIH's Programs.

Who is on NIAID's Council?

NAAIDC has 18 voting members, including 12 health or science experts and six lay members, all of whom usually serve four-year terms. Council also includes nonvoting ex officio members who provide liaison with higher-level organizations.

Find more information on Council membership at NIAID's Council—Our Chief Advisory Committee. To see who is currently serving on NAAIDC, go to Biographical Sketches of NIAID Council Members.

When does Council meet?

Council usually meets in January or February, May or June, and September for a one-day meeting. For meeting dates, go to Learn About Council Meetings on the Advisory Council portal of the NIAID Research Funding Web site.

What takes place during a Council meeting?

We post the agenda before each meeting. Meetings consist of open and closed subcommittee sessions, full Council review of applications and subcommittee actions, special presentations, and remarks by NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

For details on Council meetings, see What happens at Council meetings at NIAID's Council—Our Chief Advisory Committee.

What does Council look at during second-level review?

During second-level review, with the exception of expedited and en bloc review, Council considers the following actions/applications individually by Council members at each meeting:

  • Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) awards
  • Special actions from either staff or Council
  • Applications from foreign institutions
  • Applications with pending concerns related to human subjects, animal welfare, and/or the inclusion of children, women and/or minorities
  • Applications with biohazard concerns, such as adequate protection of research personnel and/or the environment, biosafety, biocontainment and the security of Select Agents
  • Applications of special interest or posing special policy issues
  • Unresolved appeals of peer review
  • Phase III clinical trials

Go to Strategy for Second-Level Review in the Strategy for NIH Funding, and NIAID Council Operating Procedures.

Do all research applications need Council's recommendation before funding?

Yes, all research applications require a second level of review by Council prior to funding. Go to Do all competing grant applications need Council's recommendation before funding? on After Peer Review questions and answers.

What is expedited Council review?

Council uses expedited review to make awards a few months earlier than would otherwise be possible. Qualifying applications must have summary statements available, rank within the payline following initial peer review, and have no concerns identified by the SRG with protections of human subjects, care and use of vertebrate animals, inclusion of women, minorities, and/or children, or biohazards. Additionally, the applications must be domestic and have no other issues that warrant consideration by Council.

For more information, go to Second-Level Review Is Faster for Some Applications in the Strategy for NIH Funding, and see the Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Expedited Council Review and Award SOP.

What special issues does Council review?

Funding issues or concerns coming out of initial peer review are called special issues, which NIAID resolves after getting Council's recommendations.

They include foreign applications, human subjects and animal concerns, biohazards, reinstatement of research aims, and deferred applications. For a complete list, see Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Special Issues Requiring Council Review SOP and Definitions of Special Issues Presented to Council.

What is concept clearance and Council's role in it?

Concept clearance is a review of each initiative—request for applications (RFAs), program announcement (PAs), or solicitation—usually performed by Council. Concept clearance is a mandatory step before NIAID can publish an initiative. Go to NIAID Funding Opportunities List for active RFAs and PAs. Find NIAID Extramural R&D Solicitations at

Does Council play a role in appeals of peer review?

It may. When an investigator disputes the results of an initial peer review, he or she works with the program officer and, if necessary, the scientific review officer (SRO) to resolve the issues without taking an appeal to Council. If this is unsuccessful, the NIAID program officer will then present the appeal to Council for consideration.

Whether or not our Council concurs with the applicant's appeal request, NIH's Center for Scientific Review (CSR) makes the final decision to re-review an application.

Before you consider an appeal, see Should You Appeal? in the Strategy for NIH Funding, and read Appeals of Scientific Review of Grant Applications SOP.

Does Council recommend applications before human, animal, and other issues are resolved?

Generally, Council will not recommend your application for funding until you resolve the study section's concerns. If your summary statement has a code for a bar to award, NIAID can't give you an award until the issues are resolved.

Can Council recommend an application beyond the payline?

Yes. Go to Does Council recommend some applications beyond the payline? on After Peer Review questions and answers.

What if my question wasn't answered here, or I'd like to suggest a question?

Email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. We answer questions by email and post them here. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.

Last Updated December 19, 2014

Last Reviewed June 09, 2015