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Application Assignment and Review

Competing applications undergo a thorough, two-level review process. (1) Peer review for scientific and technical merit and (2) advisory council to assess relevance to Institute/Center (IC) priorities and public health needs.

On this page you'll find:

Application Assignment

After your application is received, NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) staff

Assignment details show in eRA Commons about 2 weeks after the due date.



Peer Review

A Scientific Review Officer (SRO) in CSR manages the initial peer review. The study section meets and assesses their assigned applications against the review criteria stated in the funding opportunity. An impact score and summary statement are provided for each peer-reviewed application.

  • Impact score - assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research fields(s) involved
    • Impact scores may be numeric (10 – 90) or alphabetical (ND for Not Discussed)
    • Available in eRA Commons 2-3 days after the review
  • Summary Statement - a combination of the reviewers' written comments and the SRO's summary of the members' discussion
    • Available in eRA Commons within a month of review



  • Scientific Review Officer displayed in eRA Commons Status (while the application is under review)
  • Program Official displayed in eRA Commons Status (after the summary statement is released)

After Peer Review

Check your impact score and summary statement in eRA Commons.

Favorable Score

  • IC may ask you to provide additional information, including the disclosure form for applications received after September 5, 2023, using the Just-in-Time (JIT) process in eRA Commons, prior to making final funding decisions.
    • Not an indication of a pending award
    • Information requested (e.g., other support and human subjects and animal welfare assurances) must be in place for an award to be made
    • Reduces the burden of this additional data collection to only those applicants in a competitive range
  • View this tutorial for more information about what is expected during the JIT process.

Non-favorable Score or Not Discussed (ND)

  • Take a deep breath and read your summary statement again
  • Reach out to the Program Official to discuss how to strengthen your application and next steps
  • Consider submitting a Resubmission application addressing reviewer feedback
    • Many unfunded applicants go on to become successful grant recipients through perseverance



  • Program Official (PO) displayed in eRA Commons Status

Advisory Council

NIH uses a dual peer review system. The first level is the initial scientific peer review. The second level is often referred to as the council or advisory council.

Procedures vary across Institutes/Centers (ICs), but each IC Director chairs a National Advisory Council for their IC that considers the study section's results and determines the relevance of the applications to the IC's priorities and public health needs. 

The advisory council recommends applications for funding, and the IC Director makes final funding decisions. 


  • Program Official (PO) displayed in eRA Commons Status

Peer Review

portrait image of Laverne Carter

[SBIR] has been a long, trying, but worthwhile journey...from multiple submissions that were not applications that scored below the funding concurrent applications (one Phase II and a Phase I) emerging from the rigorous peer review process with impact scores in the “Excellent" range.

Laverne Morrow Carter