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Referral and Assignment Questions and Answers

Table of Contents

How does the NIH Center for Scientific Review process my application?

CSR assigns your application to an integrated review group and study section for initial peer review and an institute or center for potential funding.

For that information, read Part 5. Assignment and Review in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

Should I request assignment to an institute and scientific review group?

If your application will be reviewed by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), we recommend that you do this in your cover letter. Keep in mind that while CSR staff usually honor your request, they are not required to, and they may make a different assignment based on NIH referral guidelines and workload factors.

For more information on requesting assignment, read the following sections of the Strategy for NIH Funding:

For advice, read the following articles in the Strategy for NIH Funding:

If your application will be reviewed by NIAID, you can look at the roster but cannot request assignment to a review group. Read more at Where do I find rosters for NIAID review committees? in the Peer Review at NIAID questions and answers.

How do I know if CSR or an IC will review my application?

NIAID reviews applications for program project grants, cooperative agreements, career awards, institutional training grants, conference grants, Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial Planning and Implementation Awards, and applications responding to requests for applications.

CSR reviews investigator-initiated grant applications for all award types except those reviewed in NIAID.

See Who Peer Reviews Your Application? in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

For a request for applications (RFA), may I request assignment to a scientific review group?

No. Each RFA convenes its own review group, called a special emphasis panel (SEP), so you cannot request assignment as you normally could for a program announcement.

Typically, applications in response to RFAs are reviewed by the lead sponsoring institute. At NIAID, one or more SEPs may review the applications. For more information, read Peer Review at NIAID Questions and Answers.

If I did not request assignment to a scientific review group, should I check the roster?

Yes. See If I did not request assignment to a review group, should I check the roster? in the Peer Review of Applications questions and answers.

Where do I find scientific review group rosters?

You can find CSR study section rosters at CSR’s Roster Index for Regular Standing Study Sections and Continuing SEPs . For applications reviewed at NIAID, go to Where do I find rosters for NIAID review committees? in the Peer Review at NIAID questions and answers.

Can I recommend or request a reviewer?

No. See Can I recommend or request a reviewer I like? in the Peer Review of Applications questions and answers.

Where can I find the name of the scientific review officer for my application?

The name of the scientific review officer assigned to your application is listed in the eRA Commons with other information about the application.

When will CSR notify me of my application's assignments?

You can find this information in the eRA Commons usually within ten days, though it can take as long as six weeks for paper applications. If you have not heard by then, call the NIH Referral Office at 301-435-0715.

See Ensure You Get the Right Assignments in the Strategy for NIH Funding.

What should I do if I don't like a CSR assignment?

Read What if I don't like an assignment? in the Peer Review of Applications questions and answers.

Does CSR load applications into a database so institutes can pick ones they might want to fund?

After CSR receives your grant application, it logs your application into a tracking database and assigns it an application identification number, e.g., 1R01-AI-12345-01.

Then a CSR staff member looks over your application and assigns it to the most appropriate institute based on NIH referral guidelines. For more information, see the next question.

May one institute send my application to another institute even after CSR assignment?

Yes. After assignment, program officers in different institutes may discuss where your application might best fit and have the strongest likelihood of getting funded. You should be part of this discussion.

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

Email deaweb@niaid.nih.gov 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 August 03, 2015

Last Reviewed December 05, 2011