The Grant Process

Getting a grant from the National Institute of Health is not such a difficult process but a lengthy one. It requires time for the applicant to complete and then for the application to be processed. Once the application is submitted, it takes about nine months for the application to finish being reviewed. What goes on during those months? Numerous people from different positions have to review the application. Here is a brief outline of the process:

Steps for the applicant:

Planning: It is suggested that applicants start early with collecting preliminary data and determining internal deadlines.

Writing: The applicant is advised to start writing the application several months ahead of the application’s due date.

Submitting: Most applications are submitted to NIH through Federal portal at

Steps for Reviewing:

Months 1-3: Receipt and Referral

  • The Division of Receipt and Referral in the Center of Scientific Review (CSR) reviews applications that are compliant with the National Institute of Health policies.

  • CSR then assigns the application to an NIH Institute/Center (IC) and a Scientific Review Group

  • Then the Scientific Review Officer assigns the application to reviewers and readers

Months 4-8: Peer Review

  • Initial Level of Review: Scientific Review Group members look at the applications and verify they have scientific merit

  • Impact Scores: The level of impact is determined and this score is made available to Principal Investigator on eRA Commons

  • Second Level of Review: Advisory council and board reviews the application

  • Summary Statement: A summary is reached and is made available to Principal Investigator on eRA Commons

Months 9-10: Award

  • Pre-Award Process: The NIH Institute/Center grants management staff conducts a final administrative review and then negotiates the award

  • Notification of Award: NIH Institute/Center director decides on funding. The IC staff then issues and sends a Notice of Award to the applicant institution or organization.

  • Project period begins!