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Attendance of Contractor Staff at Closed Sessions of Meetings SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Some links will work for NIAID staff only.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) has internal roles only.

It includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To prohibit the attendance of contractor staff at closed sessions of NIAID Council meetings, at meetings of scientific review groups and special emphasis panels, and at site visits.


In general, contractors may not attend closed sessions of Council, scientific review group meetings, or site visits. However, they may obtain a waiver under exceptional circumstances.

This regulation enables NIH to ensure confidentiality of trade secrets and other commercial, personal, or sensitive information.

Only federal officials can perform activities the government defines as inherently governmental—see OMB Circular A-76.

Peer Review Meetings

Scientific Review Officers

  • If a contractor's attendance is required to help the scientific review officer (SRO) oversee a meeting, prepare a Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Waiver for SRO Contractors at Peer Review Meetings that includes a justification.
  • Submit the approved waiver and any waivers from program staff to David Alperin in NIAID's Office of Committee Management (OCM) for the official meeting file.
  • Make sure the contractor signs conflict of interest and confidentiality documents for each meeting and send a copy to the OCM.
  • Arrange for the contractor to attend the pre-meeting briefing for contractors.

Program Officers

  • If a contractor is needed to provide critical information about a peer review to program officials, request a waiver that includes a justification from John McGowan, NIAID deputy director for science management. A contractor may attend only if there is no feasible alternative.
    • Contact Ken Santora in DEA's Office of the Director to obtain a waiver template.
    • Complete the template, including justification, and return to Ken Santora. If you are approved, a copy of the signed waiver will be provided to you.
    • Send a copy of the approved waiver to the SRO before the meeting.
  • Make sure the contractor signs conflict of interest and confidentiality documents for each meeting.
  • Work with the SRO to ensure that the contractor attends a pre-meeting briefing for contractors.


Contractors who attend closed meetings must:

  • Agree to observe NIH confidentiality requirements.
  • Sign a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting disclosure of government business and a non-competition agreement prohibiting the company from competing for activities in which the contractor participates.
  • Divulge any conflicts of interest following NIH procedures.
  • Observe federal government standards of ethical conduct.
  • Attend a pre-meeting briefing for contractors.
  • Make recommendations only to a program officer or SRO.

Contractors must not:

  • Invite scientists to serve on a review committee.
  • Counsel or discuss results of peer review with PIs.
  • Speak or appear to speak for NIH or the government.
  • Make a decision that could be construed as binding for the government.
  • Take notes that would identify individual reviewer comments from study section meetings.

Committee Management Officer

  • Put a copy of waivers associated with peer review meetings in the official meeting file.

Administrative and Contracting Officers

  • Ensure that language in the statement of work is consistent with policies and regulations governing appropriate tasks for contractors.

Advisory Council

SROs and Program Officers

  • In very rare situations, have Matthew Fenton, director, DEA determine the need for a contractor's expertise at the meeting.
  • Before the meeting, obtain approval from Matthew Fenton, Council executive secretary.
  • Before the meeting, provide documentation of approval to OCM and Matthew Fenton, Council executive secretary.


DEA Office of the Director

Matthew Fenton

Ken Santora

Scientific Review Program

Hortencia Hornbeak

Office of Committee Management

David Alperin

Office of Acquisitions

Charles Newman

If you have knowledge to share or want more information on this topic, email with the title of this page or its URL and your question or comment. Thanks for helping us clarify and expand our knowledge base.


Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Center for Scientific Review, SRO Handbook

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Use of Contractors in Support of HSA Functions

NIH Policy Manual Chapter 6315-1, Initiation, Review, Evaluation, and Award of Research and Development Contracts

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIH Policy Manual Chapter 54514, Role of Staff at Peer Review Advisory Committee Meetings and Exchange of Information Among Review, Program and Grants Management Staffs

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy: Laws and Regulations

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Reinvention of the Role of the Extramural Program Scientist at NIH

Scientific Peer Review of Research Grant Applications and Research and Development Contract Projects: Final Rule 42 CFR part 52h

Last Updated November 17, 2014

Last Reviewed May 28, 2015