This Notice has been superceded by Notice dated November 21, 1997


NIH GUIDE, Volume 25, Number 22, July 5, 1996


P.T. 34


  Grants Administration/Policy+ 


National Institutes of Health


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide an applicant who

feels that some aspect of the handling or peer review of his/her

grant application has been inappropriate, biased, or wrong with two

sequential opportunities, respectively referred to as "rebuttals" and

"appeals," to have his/her concerns addressed.


The first opportunity, or rebuttal, is available after the applicant

has received the summary statement that documents the results of the

initial review of the application's scientific and/or technical

merit.  The applicant should submit a detailed letter rebutting the

review, not to the Scientific Review Administrator of the initial

review group that reviewed the application, but to the Program

Administrator of the relevant NIH Institute/Center (IC) who is

responsible for the application.  If the letter is judged to be a

rebuttal and not simply a communication providing additional

information, it will usually be made available to the IC's National

Advisory Council/Board for consideration, if the IC staff cannot

handle the concerns administratively.  If the Council takes a

specific action on the rebuttal, and if the Council deems that the

applicant's objections have merit, it may recommend that the

application be deferred and rereviewed.  However, if the Council does

not recommend deferral and rereview but concurs with the initial

review and deems that it should stand, then the applicant has a

second opportunity to have his/her concerns heard, by submitting a

formal appeal of the Council's decision.


"The PI and the applicant institution, represented by the

institutional official authorized to sign applications, must jointly

sign an appeal and send it to the NIH Peer Review Appeals Officer.

The official representative's signature indicates that the applicant

institution endorses both the form and substance of the appeal" (ref:

NIH Manual Chapter 4518).  The appeal letter must explain fully the

reasons for the disagreement, append supporting documentation, and be

sent to:


NIH Appeals Officer

Office of the Director

National Institutes of Health

6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6192

Bethesda, MD  20892


Two points that are important for applicants considering an appeal to

weigh for themselves concern the possible outcomes and the timing of

the appeal process.  The most favorable possible outcome for an

applicant in an appeal case can only be a decision that the

application in question be rereviewed, since appeals cases examine

only whether there were any flaws in the peer review process.  The

other possible outcome is that the review of the application was not

substantially flawed and any minor flaws in the review did not affect

the recommendation regarding the application.  In that case, the

review would stand and the application would not be rereviewed.  As

the conduct of an appeal case involves several steps of process and

review, it may take at least four months (or one review cycle) to

complete.  Thus, given the possible outcomes and the timing of the

appeal process, an applicant may wish to consider whether

deficiencies in the review of his/her application were substantive

enough to have had a major deleterious effect on the review of the

application and, if not, to revise and resubmit it instead.


Applicant concerns about the acceptance for review, responsiveness to

a Request for Applications (RFA), other receipt issues, or the

referral of their application, when submitted prior to the initial

review, are entirely the responsibility of the Division of Research

Grants (DRG) or of the IC assigned to review the application (as

indicated on the computer-generated notice of assignments sent to

applicants).  This DRG or IC process also provides two opportunities

(both of which are internal to either the DRG or the IC) for

applicant concerns to be addressed.


Decisions regarding the funding of applications, as they are actions

that are external to the peer review process, may not be appealed.




For additional information about the peer review rebuttal and appeal

processes or to discuss a particular matter, contact the NIH Appeal

Officer, Dr. Janet Cuca, at 301/435-2691 or email:



Return to 1996 Index

Return to NIH Guide Main Index

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) - Government Made Easy

Note: For help accessing PDF, RTF, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Audio or Video files, see Help Downloading Files.