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Project Concept for Contracts SOP

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

This SOP has internal roles only.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To provide guidance about peer review of R&D contract project concepts.


Regulations require that NIH institutes and centers obtain peer review of each R&D contract project concept before issuing a solicitation for biomedical and behavioral research (42 CFR 52h.10).

NIH Manual Chapter 6315-1 states that concept review groups shall consider features of the purpose, scope, and objectives which are specific to each R&D project, including:

  • Scientific, technical, or program significance of the goals of the proposed R&D activity.
  • Availability of the technology and other resources necessary to achieve the required goals.
  • Extent to which identified, practical scientific or clinical uses exist for the anticipated results.
  • Adequacy of inclusion of women, minorities and children in clinical research, if applicable.

Note: Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Research Initiative Management System (RIMS) generates a Concept Clearance Form which includes sections for reviewers to address the criteria above.

Contracting Officer's Representative (COR)

  • Develop R&D project concepts based on prior discussions with advisory groups and other interactions with the scientific community.
    • This may involve performing in-depth literature searches, assessing previous contract results, and discussing the concept with scientific staff in and outside the government.
    • In these discussions, do not disclose advance information about an acquisition that would give anyone an unfair advantage.
  • See the Concept Development SOP for other initiative development steps, including concept clearance.

Contracting Officer (CO)

  • Before issuing a solicitation, ensure that a peer review group or scientific review group (e.g., Advisory Council or Board, Board of Scientific Counselors, Program Advisory Group (PAG), or a Special Emphasis Panel) approves the project concept under requirements of 42 CFR 52h.
  • If a substantial amount of time has passed since the concept review, prior to award of the contract determine whether peer review is required again to ensure the continued scientific merit of the concept.
  • If the NIAID director or designee defers the presolicitation peer review, ensure that the solicitation states that a peer review group has not yet reviewed the project concept and must do so before proposal review—otherwise we are not allowed to make an award.

NIAID Director or Designee

  • You may defer the presolicitation peer review of a project concept if you determine that the accomplishment of essential program objectives would otherwise be placed in jeopardy and any further delay clearly would not be in the best interest of the government.
  • When you defer presolicitation concept review, document the basis for that determination.


Offerors, see the Office of Acquisitions staff listing for the appropriate contract specialist.

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff—for contract questions

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.Contact for NIAID Staff—for initiative development questions

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Concepts: Potential Opportunities

Concept Development SOP

Lock icon: This link will not work for public visitors.NIAID Initiative Publication Approval Chart

NIH Manual Chapter 6315-1

Last Updated October 01, 2015

Last Reviewed April 16, 2015