NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (GenomeWeb News) - The National Institutes of Health announced today a pilot program to shorten the peer-review process for investigators applying for grants.
NIH said it expects the pilot to cut the review cycle, which currently takes more than nine months, in half.
The pilot, scheduled to start in February, will target researchers applying for their first R01 grants.
"I am particularly pleased that the pilot phase will be focused on new investigators who are the most vulnerable in times of budgetary constraints and often do not have the resources to withstand long review cycles," said NIH Director, Elias Zerhouni, in a statement.
NIH's Center for Scientific Review will initiate the pilot in 40 of its scientific review panels in February. Investigators will receive reviewer comments approximately four months earlier than the current process, allowing them to revise and resubmit their applications for the next review.
Currently CSR's grant review process takes six months and involves more than 15,000 outside scientific experts. NIH institutes and centers that fund grants typically spend another three months on a second review. Outside experts make final recommendations before the individual institute and center directors make their final funding decisions.
Toni Scarpa, director of the CSR, said in a statement that NIH will employ "new electronic and management tools" to speed the review process "while preserving the rigor and fairness of NIH peer review."