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If John is a paid employee of Science University, which has submitted a research application to NIH, can he serve on the panel that reviews the application? Since John has a conflict of interest with the application, he may not review that particular application and will have to be out of the room during the discussion and evaluation of that application, but may serve on the panel to review other applications.
The core values of impartiality, fairness, and integrity are fundamental to the NIH peer review process. NIH Scientific Review Officers (SROs) spend considerable time and energy identifying appropriate reviewers and managing reviewer conflicts of interest (COI).
Application of the Rules
The rules for managing COI addressed on this page apply to peer reviewers participating in:
When does COI arise?
What are the types of conflicts that must be managed? Check out the many types below. Note that COI is handled differently for reviewers of grants and R&D contracts.
Each NIH peer reviewer must certify, under penalty of perjury (US Code Title 18 chapter 47 section 1001), that to the best of his or her knowledge he/she has disclosed all conflicts of interest that he or she may have with the applications or R&D contract proposals; he or she fully understands the confidential nature of the review process and agrees:
(1) to destroy or return all materials related to it;
(2) not to disclose or discuss the materials associated with the review, the evaluation, or the review meeting with any other individual except as authorized by the Scientific Review Officer (SRO) or other designated NIH official;
(3) not to disclose procurement information prior to the award of a contract; and
(4) to refer all inquiries concerning the review to the SRO or other designated NIH official.
Want more policy details?NIH Conflict of Interest Rules for Reviewers (PDF - 34 KB)