Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Conflicts of Interest

To ensure a fair and unbiased review, the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) must establish that no reviewer has a real or apparent conflict of interest (COI). You may already have discussed COIs with your SRO.  However, COIs are not always clear-cut, and sometimes you may not realize you have one until you begin to review the application(s).  If you realize you may have a COI, please contact your SRO immediately to discuss it.

For Program Projects, if a reviewer is in conflict with one component of the application, the reviewer is in conflict with the entire application.  For that reason, it is very important that you carefully look for any conflicts of interest that you may have with an application as early as possible after receiving your review assignments.

Some common COIs include:

  • Working at or being affiliated with the applicant institution.
  • Collaborating or otherwise working with someone on the application in the last 3 years.
  • Having a close family member or professional associate on the application.
  • Having a longstanding scientific or personal disagreement with someone on the application.

In general, scientific differences of opinion are not considered conflicts of interest.

An official website of the National Institutes of Health