In some Scientific Review Groups (SRGs), applications are reviewed based on the preliminary overall impact score (beginning with the best scores). Applications will be grouped together when feasible (e.g., same mechanisms, new investigators, or clinical applications). In most cases, only the more meritorious applications (based on preliminary scores) will be discussed at the meeting. All fully participating members of the SRG must concur on the recommendation to not discuss an application. Applications that are discussed at the meeting will receive a final impact score, individually assigned reviewer criterion scores, a summary statement with critiques, and a resume and summary of the discussion. Applications that are not discussed will receive summary statements containing written critiques and individual criterion scores from assigned reviewers.
- Applications that are considered for discussion will be introduced by the Chair of the SRG.
- Assigned reviewers will share their preliminary Overall Impact Score and should be prepared to explain the significance of the proposed research, the overall impact the research will have on the field, as well as comment on other review criteria.
- When presenting applications, the primary reviewer should include just enough information to help orient unassigned panel members. For example: State the hypothesis that is being tested. Remember: Every reviewer will have access to the Specific Aims and/or the application at the meeting.
- State Impact up front and then briefly highlight your score-driving strength(s)/ weakness(es) for each review criterion to explain to the review panel how you arrived at your impact score. It is a common pitfall of review to mention every little weakness found in the application during discussion; this dilutes the overall impact and misdirects the unassigned reviewers to focus on minor, non score-driving weaknesses instead of the balance between score-driving strengths and weaknesses that determined your Overall Impact score.
- Group discussion follows assigned reviewer presentations. Because consideration of human subject protections, inclusion plans, vertebrate animals or biohazards can reflect scientific and technical merit, these elements are discussed before moving to final scoring. Additional review considerations such as budget, resource sharing plans as well as other administrative issues such as scientific/budgetary overlap, to be discussed after final scoring.
Based on the presentation and discussion, each discussed application is given a final score by all reviewers who are eligible to vote on that application.