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Scientific Review Information for Reviewers

This webpage serves as an information depot for current and prospective peer reviewers for grant applications that are reviewed by the Scientific Review Branch (SRB) at NIA. See also: information on reviews conducted by the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). If you do not see what you are looking for, please send us an email – your input is appreciated.

Reviewer Guidelines and Instructions

NIH’s Office of Extramural Research (OER) has a central listing of information for peer reviewers. The eRA Commons website has instructions for using the online review module. All documents below are relevant for NIA reviews except for the templates on the OER webpage (see custom critique templates above).

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Your Responsibilities as a Reviewer

As a Peer Reviewer, you are an expert in a scientific or technical field related to the grant application(s) to which you are assigned. Your role is to provide expert advice on the scientific and technical merit of applications.

Your responsibilities include:

  • Reading your review instructions and applications;
  • Alerting your SRO (as early as possible) if assignments do not fit your expertise or you identify a conflict of interest;
  • Providing your pre-meeting conflict of interest form and (if applicable) your phone number for the teleconference;
  • Writing preliminary critiques, using and completing all sections of the critique template, and uploading critiques and scores to the NIH Commons/Internet Assisted Review website by the deadline;
  • Participating in the meeting: listening to presentations of assigned reviewers, contributing as appropriate to the discussion, and providing final scores;
  • Editing and turning in your critiques, scores, and post-meeting conflict of interest form, after the review;
  • Maintaining confidentiality of the review proceedings, before, during, and after the meeting.

See also from OER: Reviewer Orientation (PDF, 269K)

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The Scientific Review Officer (SRO)

The SRO is the Designated Federal Official (DFO) with legal responsibility for managing the review. No review proceedings or discussion of applications may take place unless the SRO is present.

The SRO’s responsibilities include:

  • Performing an administrative check of the applications. Addressing PI questions prior to the meeting;
  • Identifying, recruiting, and assigning reviewers who have appropriate expertise and are not in conflict with the applications;
  • Instructing reviewers on the review process and all regulations and policies;
  • Arranging all aspects of the review and its documentation; running the meeting in conjunction with the Chair;
  • Monitoring the review process to ensure fair, unbiased and scientifically/technically appropriate evaluation of the application;
  • Preparing the summary statement post-review and presenting information to the Council (second level of review) as needed.

See also from CSR: Role of the SRO

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How Program Project Reviews Work at NIA

Guide to Program Project Review at NIA
Program Project (P01) NOFOs, Policies and Guidelines

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