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Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ Pages

How grant applications are reviewed

Q: Who reviews my grant?

A: The majority of NLM's applications are reviewed the Biomedical Library and Informatics Review Committee (BLIRC) (current members of the BLIRC). Some applications are reviewed by Special Emphasis Panels, convened on an ad hoc basis. Reviewers are chosen primarily for their subject domain expertise; most also have considerable experience with the NIH granting process. A second level review is performed by NLM's Board of Regents (current members of the BOR).

Q: Who decides whether my grant gets funded?

A: The decision to fund any given grant is made by the Institute Director based on scientific merit (as reflected by the priority score), relevance to the NLM program mission, and available funds.

Q: May I suggest experts to review my application?

A: In a cover letter that accompanies your application, you may suggest areas of expertise for reviewers that might best fit the subject area covered by your application. It is not appropriate to suggest specific experts.

Q. What are the criteria used for judging the merit of my grant proposal?

A: NIH has established general criteria for evaluating an application that apply to all grants. They are:

  • Significance
  • Approach
  • Innovation
  • Investigator
  • Environment

The importance assigned to each criterion varies depending on the funding mechanism and program area. For example, innovation is not a requirement of resource grants. Each grant program description lists the criteria that will be used to judge the merit of applications. See for more about the NIH review criteria.