Funding News Edition: February 03, 2021 See more articles in this edition
It’s probably safe to say that after your grant application is peer reviewed, the information you’re most anxious to get is the overall impact score. After all, it is the essential factor for a funding decision.
Though you’ll learn your score soon after the review meeting, it shouldn’t be the only focus of your attention. Favorable score or not, it’s wise to also read the summary statement.
For Applicants: Summary Statement Why, When, and Whom
Here we touch on three key aspects of your summary statement: Why you should read it, when you will receive it, and with whom to discuss it.
Note: Not all applications receive a full review and an overall impact score. Learn more at Noncompetitive Applications Are Sometimes Not Discussed and If Your Application Is Not Discussed.
Why Read It?
While your overall impact score can indicate whether you are within the fundable range for those opportunities that use paylines, your summary statement tells you much more.
For example, it provides a summary of the study section’s discussion, the recommended budget, and criterion scores from assigned reviewers.
It also contains reviewer critiques that cover the strengths and weaknesses of your proposed project. These critiques are essentially free expert advice and you would benefit from taking advantage of them. They can be quite helpful whether your application is within or outside the payline or fundable range.
For instance, if your application is likely to be funded, the critiques can point out areas that could be strengthened as you conduct your research.
On the other hand, for an application that misses the payline, reviewer comments can help you decide whether to revise and resubmit or create a new application.
When Will You Get It?
For applications reviewed at NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR), you should receive your summary statement 30 to 45 business days post-review. NIAID’s Scientific Review Program (SRP) also delivers summary statements 30 business days post-review. Once ready, you will be granted access to the summary statement through your eRA Commons account at the same time as your program officer.
If you are a new R01 investigator, CSR will post your summary statement within 10 business days of the review meeting, in time for you to have at least one month to resubmit for the next cycle: no later than July 10, November 10, or March 10 (depending on the review cycle) for non-AIDS-related applications. Before going this route, we suggest checking in with your program officer for advice. See With Whom Should You Discuss It? below.
Many new investigators attempt to revise and resubmit within this narrow window, but this may not be the appropriate course of action if the guidance in the summary statement involves performing additional experiments.
Should you be tempted to rebut the summary statement, think twice. Investigators are rarely successful by choosing that route over heeding the reviewers’ advice and submitting an appeal will significantly delay when you can resubmit your application.
With Whom Should You Discuss It?
Once you receive your summary statement, and before you take any next steps, touch base with your program officer. He or she can help assess your probability of funding, and may also share insights on the breadth and tenor of the review meeting discussions.
Read more at After Your Get Your Summary Statement, Contact Your Program Officer in Scoring & Summary Statements.
For Reviewers: Describe More Than the Weaknesses
If you are a reviewer, help applicants get the most out of your critiques by describing both strengths and weaknesses for each review criterion and providing the overall impact of the proposed studies.
Though it may not be possible depending on the quality of an application, do not focus on only weaknesses since strengths will aid applicants in revising their applications.
Also consider giving additional comments that are not related to the technical or scientific merit of an application. See Additional Comments to Applicant Box on NIH’s Center for Scientific Review website.