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Becoming a Peer Reviewer

The NIH peer review system is the foundation of the NIH extramural research enterprise, and its continued excellence depends on our ability to recruit and retain the most accomplished, broad-thinking and creative scientists and experts to serve as peer reviewers. Such qualified individuals are needed to serve on Scientific Review Groups (or “study sections”) in the initial peer review of applications and evaluation of R&D contract proposals.

Individuals who possess expertise in areas supported by the NIH and who wish to volunteer to serve in the NIH peer review process should send an email to the Enhancing Peer Review mailbox ( with a brief description of their areas of expertise in the body of the email (1-2 sentences) and a copy of their biosketch as an attachment.

Principal Investigators (PIs) who receive research grant support from the NIH are an enriched source of such highly-qualified individuals. Therefore, the NIH calls upon investigators who have received research grant funding from the NIH to serve on NIH study sections and advisory groups when invited to do so. However, this expectation for service is entirely voluntary and an inability to serve has no impact on an investigator’s ability to compete for grant support.

For more details, visit the following links:

  • Email to be added to a trans-NIH database of reviewer volunteers (include a brief description of your scientific areas of expertise in the body of the email [1-2 sentences], and a copy of your biosketch as an attachment
  • NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-15-035 (2/20/2015): Reinforcing Service to the Biomedical Research Community
  • NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-10-089 (05/07/2010) - Enhancing Peer Review: Expectation for Service on NIH Peer Review and Advisory Groups
  • Supporting the Call to Peer Review Service (February 2015) – Extramural Nexus
  • Say “Yes” and Serve (May 2010) - NIH Nexus article
  • Early Career Reviewer program - Researchers who are beginning an independent research program should consider applying for the Early Career Reviewer Program, which is run by the NIH Center for Scientific Review to help jumpstart research careers and enhance the pool of future reviewers.
  • Reviewer Volunteer Database (Internal link for Staff Use Only)


This page last updated on September 12, 2016
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