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After Peer Review Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

Whom do I talk to after initial peer review?

After initial peer review, your application moves to an institute. At that point, your program officer becomes your contact. See Strategy for Second-Level Review in the Strategy for NIH Funding. Call the program officer, not the scientific review officer, for more information about the review.

Before you are assigned a program officer, you can find one to contact in the eRA Commons or in When to Contact an NIAID Program Officer. Later, while your application is being considered, stay in close contact with the assigned program officer who's listed on your summary statement and just-in-time mailer.

Does a summary statement point out all the problems with my application?

No. A summary statement is not meant to be an exhaustive critique. Instead, it briefly summarizes the discussion and includes reviewer critiques.

For more information, see these pages in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

Once a grant application is submitted, how will I receive notice that my summary statement is ready?

You’ll need to regularly check the eRA Commons for this information.

You can get a sense of when it will appear as you watch the Commons, though. Here’s how this works for investigator-initiated applications.

  • Within 7 to 10 days after you apply, you’ll find your application’s initial assignments in the Commons.
  • The Center for Scientific Review posts the roster in the Commons 30 days before the review.
  • Then after the review meeting:
    • NIH releases scores to you in the Commons within three business days.
    • NIH uploads your summary statement within 30 days. New investigators who submitted R01 applications should be able to access their summary statements within 10 days after the review meeting.

How long does it take to get a summary statement?

You will receive your summary statement within 30 days after peer review (no later than March 10, July 10, or November 10 for new investigator R01 applications, depending on review cycle).

Who writes summary statements?

The scientific review officer writes the Resume and Summary of Discussion section as well as the administrative notes. In contrast, peer reviewers contribute the bulleted critiques. For information about these components, see What is included in my summary statement? below.

For more information and guidance, see Who Peer Reviews Your Application? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What is included in my summary statement?

Your summary statement has the following sections:

  • Resume and Summary of Discussion. Briefly highlights the main points discussed during the review meeting, including major strengths and weaknesses.
  • Reviewer critiques. Provides the strengths and weaknesses identified by the assigned peer reviewers.
  • Codes and budget information.

For more information, see these pages in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

How do I interpret my summary statement?

Read Know What a Summary Statement Means and Assess Peer Review Results in the Strategy for NIH Funding. For advice on sizing up reviewer comments, read What to Do if You Get Bad News in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What does it mean if my application doesn't get a score?

There are a variety of reasons why your application may be streamlined and not discussed, including a limited amount of institute funds, the number of applications received, and the scientific quality of your application relative to other applications assigned to your review group.

To learn more, see Part 6. If Not Funded in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Does NIH include not discussed applications in the percentile calculation?

NIH includes not discussed applications in the percentile calculation. Since the number of not discussed applications varies by study section, including them affects the percentile distribution and makes percentiling fair across study sections.

How can I assess the feedback in my summary statement?

Read the Strategy for NIH Funding starting with What to Do if You Get Bad News

What do I do if I feel the review was flawed?

See Should You Appeal? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What if I see a restricting code on my summary statement?

Peer reviewers add codes to your summary statement that may bar or restrict your award due to research animal, human subject, or biohazard issues. For example, a code 44 indicates a bar to award. Codes typically appear with a brief explanation.

We cannot find your award until you address the issues. Contact your program officer for information on how to proceed.

For lists of codes and their meanings, see:

For more information on codes and bars, see:

Do study section codes need to be resolved before Council recommendation?

Yes. Generally, Council will not recommend your application for funding until you resolve the study section's codes, and NIAID can't give you an award until you resolve the issues.

Do all competing grant applications need Council's recommendation before funding?

By law, all applications must be approved by an outside body, usually our main advisory Council, before we can fund them.

For more information, see the following:

Does Council recommend some applications beyond the payline?

Yes. Council recommends some programmatically important applications beyond the payline. For more information, see the following:

Do I have to wait for a Council meeting before I can get an award?

Some applications qualify for expedited second-level review and receive an award a few weeks after the initial peer review. The others wait for the Council meeting.

Expedited review applies to investigator-initiated applications with percentile ranks within the payline and no staff concerns or bars to award on the summary statement.

For grants, see Second-Level Review Is Faster for Some Applications in the Strategy for NIH Funding and Bars to Grant Awards SOP.

For contracts, see the Restricted Awards for Contracts Involving Human Subjects, and Animals in Research Contracts SOPs.

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 January 21, 2016

Last Reviewed December 05, 2011