NIH & AHRQ Announce New Form for PHS Awarding Component and Peer Review Requests

Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-008

Key Dates
Release Date: October 13, 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


Applicants who want to communicate requests pertinent to the assignment and initial peer review of applications must use a new PHS Assignment Request Form beginning with applications for due dates on or after May 25, 2016. Use of this form will ensure applicant requests are effectively communicated to agency staff and may be used to expedite the processing and assignment of applications. 

Fields included in the new form:

  • PHS Awarding Component (including NIH Institute/Center (IC) Requests), both positive ("assign to") and negative ("do not assign to")
  • Study Section or Special Emphasis Panel Requests, both positive and negative
  • List of potential reviewers in conflict, and why
  • List of scientific expertise needed to review the application

The form is optional, and use of the form does not require completion of all fields in the form. For example, an applicant may wish only to request a specific awarding component or study section assignment and leave the other fields on the form blank.

The PHS Assignment Request Form complements the Cover Letter Attachment on the SF 424 (R&R) form. Although NIH will no longer check the Cover Letter Attachment for requests pertinent to the assignment and review of applications, the Cover Letter Attachment still may be used to communicate a variety of other issues, as specified in application guides (e.g., reason for late submission).


All active Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) will be reissued or updated to include "FORMS-D" forms (including the optional PHS Assignment Request Form) at least 60 days prior to the first due date on or after May 25, 2016.

By March 25, 2016, we will provide new application guides to be used with "FORMS-D applications. Application guides will include guidance for the new form and revised guidance for the Cover Letter Attachment on the SF424 (R&R) form.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Division of Receipt and Referral
Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Telephone:  301-435-0715