Center for Scientific Review
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The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) is the portal for United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications and their review for scientific merit. The CSR organizes the peer review groups or study sections that evaluate the majority (70%) of the research grant applications sent to NIH. It also receives all grant applications for NIH, as well as for some other components of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Since 1946, its mission has remained clear and timely: to see that NIH grant applications receive fair, independent, expert, and timely reviews—free from inappropriate influences—so NIH can fund the most promising research.
CSR receives nearly 80,000 applications a year and recruits over 18,000 external experts to review its portion of them in its study sections, which often meet three times during the year. Additional scientists serve on other NIH advisory councils, which provide a second level of peer review and make funding recommendations based on priorities set by the United States Congress, DHHS, and the public.
- Shorten the review process so applicants can revise and resubmit their applications in the next review round if necessary and NIH can more timely fund the best research. Shortening the review process by 45 days could thus reduce the time to resubmit by four months.
- Recruit and retain the best reviewers so NIH and applicants receive the best advice.
- Foster a culture more favorable to innovative applications, so that NIH can fund research that promises larger advances in science and health.
- Address the concern that clinical research is not properly evaluated, so this important research is well represented in the NIH program.
- Increase the transparency, accountability, and uniformity of NIH peer review.