- Once your proposal is submitted, Grants.gov sends it to the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), which reviews the proposal for compliance, which takes about a week
- The CSR then refers the proposal to a study section, which is the group, composed of NIH staff and scientists outside of NIH, that will review the proposal. They assign each proposal to the study section that is the best fit. However, you can recommend a study section for your proposal in your cover letter for CSR to consider. To find the best study section, browse CSR’s list of SBIR/STTR Study Sections, also known as Scientific Review Groups (SRGs), or use the CSR’s Assisted Referral Tool to find a Study section that best fits your proposal and follow CSR’s instructions.
- The Scientific Review Officer (SRO), which is the NIH staff in charge of a scientific review group, confirms the proposal’s fitness for the study section and notes problems in the application, scope of the project, and expertise needed to evaluate it.
They seek at least 3 reviewers with the expertise needed to evaluate your proposal and who do not have any conflicts of interest. They will send a notice of your assigned panel with the names of people on the panel. You can request a reviewer be excluded, for example, if they are a directly competing business.
- Scientific review takes around 2 months. All proposals are reviewed, but only those scoring in the top half in a preliminary review are discussed or scored by the review group. Scores of the reviewers are combined to yield a single impact/priority score. The lower the score the better. This score is sent to you in a Summary Statement along with the comments from reviewers.
- The Council that determines which proposals to fund meets around a month later. They use the scores in combination with each Institute’s mission. Impact/priority scores of 10 to 30 have the best chance of being funded. Scores of 31 to 45 have some chance of being funded, however, scores higher than 45 are rarely funded. It takes an additional couple of months after the council meets before you actually receive the reward.
Center for Scientific Review
NIH Understand the Review Process – a brief outline.
NLM. Grants and Funding Extramural Program. FAQs on priority scores and summary statements.