Glossary

2 A B C D E F G H I K M N O P R S T U X

Scientific Review Group

A peer review committee group of primarily non-government experts (peer reviewers), qualified by training or experience in particular scientific or technical fields, or as authorities knowledgeable in the various disciplines and fields related to the applications under review, to evaluate and give expert advice on the scientific and technical merit of the applications. No more than one-fourth of the members of any SRG may be Federal employees, as noted in 42 CFR 52(h).

2

21st Century Cures

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), signed into law on December 13, 2016,provides multiyear funding to four highly innovative scientific initiatives, including the NIH BRAIN Initiative.

A

A1 application

The A1 suffix is typically seen as part of an application identification number or grant number and "A1" is often used to refer to a new, renewal, or revision application that is amended and resubmitted after the review of a previous application with the same project number.

B

Bridge Awards

Bridge awards provide continued but limited interim support (bridge funding) for meritorious investigators who just miss the funding cutoff and have minimal support from other sources. The continued funding will permit the PD/PI additional time to strengthen a resubmission application. A Bridge award recipient usually will receive an R56 award for a single year. Investigators may not apply for R56 grants. Applications for conversion to an R56 will be selected by IC staff from reviewed applications that fall at or near the payline margins.

C

Clinical Trial

A research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.

See Common Rule definition of research at 45 CFR 46.102(d)

See Common Rule definition of human subject at 45 CFR 46.102(f)

The term "prospectively assigned" refers to a pre-defined process (e.g., randomization) specified in an approved protocol that stipulates the assignment of research subjects (individually or in clusters) to one or more arms (e.g., intervention, placebo or other control) of the clinical trial.

An intervention is defined as a manipulation of the subject or subject's environment for the purpose of modifying one or more health-related processes and/or endpoints. Examples include, but are not limited, to: drugs/small molecules/compounds, biologics, devices; procedures (e.g., surgical techniques); delivery systems (e.g., telemedicine, face-to-face); strategies to change health-related behavior (e.g., diet, cognitive therapy, exercise, development of new habits); and, treatment, prevention, and diagnostic strategies.

A health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome is defined as the pre-specified effect of an intervention on the study subjects. Examples include positive or negative changes to physiological or biological parameters (e.g., improvement of lung capacity, gene expression); psychological or neurodevelopmental parameters (e.g., mood management intervention for smokers; reading comprehension and/or information retention); disease processes; health-related behavior; and, well-being or quality of life

Biomedical clinical trials of an experimental drug, treatment, device, or behavioral intervention may proceed through four phases:

Phase I. Tests a new biomedical intervention in a small group of people (e.g. 20-80) for the first time to determine efficacy and evaluate safety (e.g., determine a safe dosage range and identify side effects).

Phase II. Study the biomedical or behavioral intervention in a larger group of people (several hundred) to determine efficacy and further evaluate safety.

Phase III. Study to determine efficacy of the biomedical or behavioral intervention in large groups of people (from several hundred to several thousand) by comparing the intervention to other standard or experimental interventions as well as to monitor adverse effects, and to collect information that will allow the interventions to be used safely.

Phase IV. Studies conducted after the intervention has been marketed. These studies are designed to monitor the effectiveness of the approved intervention in the general population and to collect information about any adverse effects associated with widespread use.

Competing Applications

Competing applications are applications for a new, renewal, or resubmission research project grants(RPG), including R01s, R21s, and related mechanisms, that require competitive peer review

Competitive Revision

A request for (or the award of) additional funds during a current project period to support new or additional activities which are not identified in the current award that reflect an expansion of the scope of the grant-approved activities. Competitive revisions require peer review.

Council Round

At the NIH, there are at least three, and sometimes four, council rounds each fiscal year: October, January, May, and sometimes August. Application receipt dates, initial review dates, and council review dates all fall within one of these council rounds.

E

Extended Payline

NINDS and NIA are paying applications responding to specific AD/ADRD funding opportunities by impact rating rank order (priority, or "overall impact" score) rather than by percentile rank. These institutes are currently paying these applications to an impact rating of 40. Though these pay lines are generally followed, NIA and NINDS may pay a few applications beyond these lines or choose to provide short-term support or require a resubmission from a few applications within these lines, following both peer review comments and published funding priority guidelines. 

G

Grant Number

Sample Grant Number 1 R01 AI 183723 -01 A1 S1

Grants Management Officer (GMO)

An NIH official responsible for the business management aspects of grants and cooperative agreements, including review, negotiation, award, and administration, and for the interpretation of grants administration policies and provisions. GMOs are delegated the authority from the CGMO to obligate NIH to the expenditure of funds and permit changes to approved projects on behalf of NIH. Each NIH IC that awards grants has one or more GMOs with responsibility for particular programs or awards. See also Chief Grants Management Officer definition.

H

HEAL

The Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

High Risk/High Impact (HR/HI)

A category of applications identified by a scientific review group as having a high degree of uncertainty in approach but also a high potential for impact. NIH tracks how many of these applications are identified and funded.

I

Impact Score

The impact score is the rating which is assigned to an individual application by an SRG, and designates the reviewers' assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of established review criteria. The impact score is one mechanism by which the SRG makes a recommendation to the funding component concerning the application's scientific and technical merit. Impact scores may be numeric (10 – 90) or alphabetical (ND, for example).

Indian tribe

Any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. Chapter 33), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians (25 U.S.C. 450b (e)). See annually published Bureau of Indian Affairs list of Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services.

Institute or Center (IC)

The NIH organizational component responsible for a particular grant program or set of activities. The terms "NIH IC" or "awarding IC" are used throughout this document to designate a point of contact for advice and interpretation of grant requirements and to establish the focal point for requesting necessary prior approvals or changes in the terms and conditions of award.

Acronym Full Name Organizational Code
CC Clinical Center CC
CSR Center for Scientific Review RG
CIT Center for Information Technology CIT
FIC John E. Fogarty International Center TW
NCATS National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) TR
NCCIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health AT
NCI National Cancer Institute CA
NCRR National Center for Research Resources (dissolved 12/2011) RR
NEI National Eye Institute EY
NHGRI National Human Genome Research Institute HG
NHLBI National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute HL
NIA National Institute on Aging AG
NIAAA National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism AA
NIAID National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases AI
NIAMS National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases AR
NIBIB National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering EB
NICHD Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development HD
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse DA
NIDCD National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders DC
NIDCR National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research DE
NIDDK National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases DK
NIEHS National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ES
NIGMS National Institute of General Medical Sciences GM
NIMH National Institute of Mental Health MH
NIMHD National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities MD
NINDS National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke NS
NINR National Institute of Nursing Research NR
NLM National Library of Medicine LM
OD Office of the Director OD

Institutional Review Board

An administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the organization with which it is affiliated.

IRG

Integrated Review Group

K

Key Personnel

Key Personnel include PD/PI and other individuals who contribute to the scientific development or execution of a project in a substantive, measurable way, whether or not they receive salaries or compensation under the grant

M

MEDLINE

National Library of Medicine's database for scientific publications.

N

NIH-Defined Phase III Clinical Trial

An NIH-defined Phase III clinical trial is a broadly based prospective Phase III clinical investigation, usually involving several hundred or more human subjects, for the purpose of evaluating an experimental intervention in comparison with a standard or controlled intervention or comparing two or more existing treatments. Often the aim of such investigation is to provide evidence leading to a scientific basis for consideration of a change in health policy or standard of care. The definition includes pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic, and behavioral interventions given for disease prevention, prophylaxis, diagnosis, or therapy. Community trials and other population-based intervention trials are also included.

NRFC

An application may be designated Not Recommended for Further Consideration (NRFC) by the Scientific Review Group if it lacks significant and substantial merit; presents serious ethical problems in the protection of human subjects from research risks; or presents serious ethical problems in the use of vertebrate animals, biohazards, and/or select agents. Applications designated as NRFC do not proceed to the second level of peer review (National Advisory Council/Board) because they cannot be funded.

O

Office of Research Integrity

(ORI) - HHS office promoting integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by the Public Health Service by monitoring institutional investigations of scientific misconduct and facilitating the responsible conduct of research.

P

Payline

The percentile rank is based on a ranking of the impact scores assigned by a peer review committee. The percentile payline is a conservative cutoff point for funding applications.

Peer Review

The process that involves the consistent application of standards and procedures that produce fair, equitable, and objective examinations of applications based on an evaluation of scientific or technical merit or other relevant aspects of the application. The review is performed by experts (Peer Reviewers) in the field of endeavor for which support is requested. Peer review is intended to provide guidance and recommendations to the NIH individuals responsible for making award decisions.

Peer Review Criteria

The reviewers judge the overall impact for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) based on five criteria: Significance, Investigator(s), Innovation, Approach, and Environment.

Phase IIB Competing Renewal

An application requiring competitive peer review and Institute/Center action to continue beyond the SBIR/STTR Phase II award.

Program Announcement

A PA is a formal statement about a new or ongoing extramural activity or program. It may serve as a reminder of continuing interest in a research area, describe modification in an activity or program, and/or invite applications for grant support. Most applications in response to PAs may be submitted to a standing submission date and are reviewed with all other applications received at that time using standard peer review processes. NIH may also make funds available through PARs (PAs with special receipt, referral, and/or review considerations) and PASs (PAs with set-aside funds).

PAs may be used for any support mechanism other than construction awards. Unless otherwise specified in the PA, new applications (and associated renewal and revision applications) submitted in response to PAs are treated as investigator-initiated. PAs also are used to annually solicit applications for the SBIR and STTR programs. Those applications must be received by the dates specified in the PA.

Program Announcements (PA) are published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Go to Program Announcements. Learn more about types of funding opportunity announcements.

R

Racial Categories

American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North, Central, or South America, and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
 
Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Note: Individuals from the Philippine Islands have been recorded as Pacific Islanders in previous data collection strategies.)
 
Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as “Haitian or “Negro can be used in addition to “Black or African American.
 
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
 
White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Renewal Application

An application requesting additional funding for a period subsequent to that provided by a current award. Renewal applications compete for funds with all other peer reviewed applications.

Research & Development

All research activities, both basic and applied, and all development activities that are performed by HHS award recipients. The term research also includes activities involving the training of individuals in research techniques where such activities utilize the same facilities as other research and development activities and where such activities are not included in the instruction function. "Research" is defined as a systematic study directed toward fuller scientific knowledge or understanding of the subject studied. "Development" is the systematic use of knowledge and understanding gained from research directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, systems, or methods, including design and development of prototypes and processes.

Research Centers

Center grants are awarded to institutions on behalf of program directors and groups of collaborating investigators. They support long-term, multi-disciplinary programs of research and development.

Review Committee

The terms Study Section and Review Committee are normally used for continuing Scientific Review Groups in the Center for Scientific Review or NIH Institute, respectively. These are groups with members who have been appointed for multi-year terms of service; at any given meeting there are also usually a number of temporary members present to provide the expertise needed to review the applications.

Review Cycle

Refers to the Center for Scientific Review's thrice yearly initial peer review cycle, from the receipt of applications to the date of the review. See Standard Receipt Dates

S

Scientific Review Group

A peer review committee group of primarily non-government experts (peer reviewers), qualified by training or experience in particular scientific or technical fields, or as authorities knowledgeable in the various disciplines and fields related to the applications under review, to evaluate and give expert advice on the scientific and technical merit of the applications. No more than one-fourth of the members of any SRG may be Federal employees, as noted in 42 CFR 52(h).

Scientific Rigor

The strict application of the scientific method to ensure robust and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results.

Scored Review Criteria

For research grant applications, and most other types of applications, reviewers judge the overall impact to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, taking into account five criteria, among other pertinent factors: Significance, Investigator(s), Innovation, Approach, and Environment. These scored review criteria may not be applicable for some types of applications. When these criteria are not applicable, the FOA will include the specific review criteria. Reviewers will consider each of the five criteria in the determination of scientific and technical merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have a major scientific impact. See Peer Review Process/Scoring for additional information.

Significant Differences

For purposes of NIH policy, a "significant difference" is a difference that is of clinical or public health importance, based on substantial scientific data. This definition differs from the commonly used "statistically significant difference," which refers to the event that, for a given set of data, the statistical test for a difference between the effects in two groups achieves statistical significance. Statistical significance depends upon the amount of information in the data set. With a very large amount of information, one could find a statistically significant, but clinically small difference that is of very little clinical importance. Conversely, with less information one could find a large difference of potential importance that is not statistically significant.

Special Emphasis Panel (SEP)

Scientific Review Groups formed on an ad hoc basis to review applications requiring special expertise or when a conflict of interest situation occurs.Scientific Review Groups formed on an ad hoc basis to review applications requiring special expertise or when a conflict of interest situation occurs.

Streamlined Review

In the peer review process, applications not considered by the Scientific Review Group to be in the more meritorious half are 'streamlined' and designated Not Discussed. Streamlined applications are not discussed at the review meeting and will not be assigned a numerical overall impact/priority score, but the applicants do receive the reviewers' critiques. Streamlined applications will receive criterion scores from the assigned reviewers in addition to the reviewers' critiques to help applicants assess whether or not they should submit a resubmission application.

Success Rate Base

The basis for computing the Research Project Grant (RPG) success rate. It includes the total number of competing applications reviewed (the number of applications subjected to a streamlined review process).

Summary Statement

A combination of the reviewers' written comments and summary of the members' discussion during the study section meeting. It includes the recommendations of the study section, a recommended budget, and administrative notes of special considerations.

U

Underrepresented Group

Group underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences, such as people with disabilities, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups such as blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Used as an eligibility requirement for diversity supplements, fellowships (F31), and other NIH programs.
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