NIAID Council Operating Procedures

These are the operating procedures for 2023. This page is updated yearly.

The National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council (NAAIDC) is charged with the responsibility of advising, consulting with, and making recommendations to the Director, NIH, on matters relating to research activities and functions of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The NAAIDC provides final review, for scientific merit and program priority, of all applications for research grants, training grants, and career development awards assigned to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as other requests for support for which Council recommendations are required by law. Further, the NAAIDC reviews and provides clearance for concepts for NIAID research initiatives.

The NAAIDC has three program subcommittees: the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Subcommittee; Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Subcommittee; and Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Subcommittee. Additionally, three members of the NAAIDC are chosen to represent Council for the expedited second-level review and en bloc approval of initial review group (IRG) recommendations.

    1. Grant Applications With No Special Concerns

      Before Council, three Council members review an Electronic Council Book containing peer review results for grant applications assigned to NIAID for consideration for funding. Based on that review, the members recommend en bloc concurrence of peer review results. This en bloc concurrence applies to applications meeting the following criteria:

      1. Proposed project is relevant to the NIAID mission and shows promise of making valuable contributions to human knowledge.
      2. No unresolved human subject, animal, or biohazard concern identified by the study section.
      3. Not foreign.
      4. No unresolved issues regarding the recruitment of women, minorities, or children or data monitoring identified by the study section.
      5. No unresolved appeal letters or other issue including MERIT award or extension and selective payment award requiring attention of full Council.

      Applications with no special considerations will be eligible for funding as soon as the Council members have certified to the executive secretary of Council that their review is complete.

      Annually, Council establishes the criteria for expedited review and approval.
    2. Grants Needing Special Consideration

      In closed session, each program subcommittee of Council reviews grant applications, discussing topics such as selective pay, selection of MERIT awardees and extensions, foreign grant applications, type 4 clinical extensions, inclusion of women and minorities and children in clinical studies, human subject or animal concerns, appeal letters, and concurrence with or variance from recommendations of IRGs. In addition, Council members and NIAID staff will review pending applications that are eligible for funding submitted by principal investigators who currently have a total of $2 million or more in direct costs from NIH investigator-initiated grants.

      Both Council members and NIAID staff may identify applications needing discussion or action. Council members may recommend deferral of applications with unresolved issues. With appropriate justification and discussion, not discussed (streamlined) applications may be considered under standard selective pay procedures.

      An agenda, summary statements, special action worksheets, and other materials are provided to Council members approximately 2 weeks before meetings as background for these discussions.

      After the subcommittees have met, their recommendations are brought to full Council for final consideration. Any Council member may raise an application for further discussion at the subcommittee meeting or with full Council.

      NIAID staff will record all Council funding recommendations.


    In open session, each subcommittee conducts concept review of potential research initiatives. These concepts originate in the scientific community, constituency organizations, and Congress.

    Using information from the sources listed above, NIAID staff prepare concept summaries for review by the subcommittees. A subcommittee may recommend approval, modification, deferral, or disapproval of a concept. Members have the opportunity during the full Council session to discuss any of the proposed concepts. Approved concepts are the bases for programs initiated through requests for applications, requests for proposals, notices of special interest, and program announcements.

    NIAID staff will record and maintain documentation reflecting subcommittee discussion and recommendations.

    Council members serve as a national resource in developing, recommending, and setting Institute policy and research priorities. On occasion, special working groups will be formed by or at the request of Council to examine and address critical scientific or policy issues of importance to the Institute and its constituencies.

    At the May Council meeting, the Director of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shall provide an update on the intramural research program and the recommendations of the VRC Board of Scientific Counselors. At the September Council meeting, the Director of the NIAID Division of Intramural Research (DIR) shall provide an update on the intramural research program and the recommendations of the DIR Board of Scientific Counselors.

    NIAID will inform Council of current scientific, budgetary, legislative, or other issues that may have an impact on NIAID and its constituencies.

    One member of the NAAIDC will serve as a member of the legislatively-mandated NIH Council of Councils and will report to the NAAIDC on the results of Council of Councils meetings.

    At the January/February meeting, Council will review the Operating Procedures for the NAAIDC and make recommendations for revision, where appropriate.

    In the event that a public health or safety emergency precludes a planned physical meeting of the Advisory Council, a fully electronic meeting of the Council may be conducted.
Content last reviewed on