Grant stage indicator: after submitting an application

Second-Level Review—Advisory Council

The main NIAID Advisory Council must recommend an application for funding before we can award a grant, although the Institute makes the final funding decision.

Once you've cleared the hurdle of initial peer review by getting a fundable score, second-level review is a small step.

Our Council looks at administrative issues and applications that may receive special funding. Council also approves Concepts: Potential Opportunities. Get details on Council’s schedule, roster, and functions at Advisory Council.

Here we focus on Council’s role in the review process.

Second-Level Review Is a Smaller Hurdle

Second-level review by NIAID Council is not a second scientific review. Rather, Council looks at applications with potential barriers to funding such as human subjects and animal concerns, or special circumstances such as foreign applications and renewal applications requesting more money than the limit.

Generally, our Council will not recommend your application for funding until you resolve any study section concerns.

This step usually means sending us more information. Contact your program officer quickly if you see problematic animal or human codes on your summary statement.

Second-Level Review Is Faster for Some Applications

NIAID uses expedited review for applications that meet certain criteria.

Eight weeks before each Council meeting, a subset of members performs an electronic expedited review for some applications.

We use this expedited process for applications that meet both of the following criteria:

  • Rank within their payline.
  • Have no concerns (e.g., human or animal codes) from the study section.

Expedited review lets us make awards several months earlier than would otherwise be possible.

  • For the first two Councils—January or February and May or June—we can fund grants a few weeks after the initial peer review meeting.
  • Because September Council reviews applications for funding in the next fiscal year, those applicants may have to wait to get their awards until after we receive our new appropriation.

Only three people perform the expedited review; then, the full Council ratifies the results at the meeting. Any Council member participating in an expedited review may request that an application be reviewed by the full Council.

All other applications have a regular second-level review at the Council meeting. NIAID makes those awards a few weeks after the meeting. Find the Council meeting schedule at Advisory Council.

Outcomes of Second-Level Review

Council recommends an application for funding. NIAID makes the final decision.

Whether the review was expedited or not, Council makes one of the following decisions for each application:

  • Recommended for funding
  • Not recommended for funding
  • Deferred for re-review by the study section

When Council recommends an application for funding, that doesn't necessarily mean it will receive an award. NIAID makes the final decision.

We may not fund your application for various reasons, for example, administrative issues need to be resolved or your application scored beyond the payline.

If, however, your application is at or within our payline, our budget office notifies Grants Management Program (GMP) staff when it has identified a funding amount for your grant. Once notified, GMP will attempt to get the grant ready to fund by requesting you submit just-in-time (JIT) and other information when necessary. For more on this, see Respond to Pre-Award Requests (“Just-in-Time”).

Your grant will be funded only if your JIT response and other requested information are acceptable and all other pre-award administrative requirements are met. If there are no major hurdles or delays, your grant should be funded within a few weeks after we receive your JIT documents.

Time to award could take longer for a variety of reasons e.g., the study section had human or animal concerns or you have a complex type of grant. If you experience a delay, talk to your program officer for advice.

Have Questions?

Contact your assigned scientific review officer, found in your eRA Commons account or in your notice of funding opportunity. If you do not have a scientific review officer, go to Scientific Review Program Contacts.

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