Initial Peer Review Conflict of Interest Policy
An essential part of ensuring research integrity is managing conflicts of interest that may bias the review of a grant application. NIH Scientific Review Officers (SROs) spend considerable time and energy identifying appropriate reviewers and managing reviewer conflicts of interest.
On November 30, 2012 NIH revised its policy for managing conflict of interest (COI) in the initial peer review process, effective for applications submitted for the January 25, 2013 due date and beyond. NIH's policy identifies the types of roles, relationships, and financial interests that may cause conflicts of interest, and the implications for peer review.
To whom does the policy apply?
The policy applies to reviewers participating in initial peer review, for all types of grant programs, with the exception of construction grants and the Loan Repayment Program.
How does the policy define the various roles, relationships and interests?
The policy breaks down reviewer roles, relationships, and interests for each application into the following three major categories.
||Out of study section; May not serve
||Out of room; May not review application
||May review application
Types of Conflicts:
Issued for exceptional circumstances only
- Any direct financial benefit for reviewer or close relative
- Major Professional Role on an application or project in the study section
- Member of standing SRG or recurring SEP
- Major Professional Role on an application project submitted to an RFA
Issued as appropriate
- Indirect financial benefit for reviewer or close relative > $10K/yr
- Salaried employee of applicant institution or PD/PI
- Professional Associate of individual with Major Professional Role
What is the effect of the various roles, relationships and interests on review service?
The type of professional relationship determines which restrictions apply to each potential reviewer.
|Major professional roles
||Cannot serve on the Scientific Review Group (SRG)
||May serve on the SRG, may not participate in discussion and evaluation of the application
|Minor professional roles
||May serve on the SRG, may review application
Want more policy details?
See Notice of Correction to Advance Notice: Revised Policy for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Initial Peer Review of NIH Grant and Cooperative Agreement Applications
Advanced Notice: Revised Policy for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Initial Peer Review of NIH Grant and Cooperative Agreement Applications
NIH Conflict of Interest Rules: Information For Reviewers Of Grant Applications And R&D Contract Proposals - (PDF - 16 KB)
NIH pre-review certification form regarding conflict of interest for non-federal and federal reviewers of grant applications and R&D contract proposals - (PDF - 64 KB)
NIH post-review certification form regarding conflict of interest for non-federal and federal reviewers of grant applications and R&D contract proposals - (PDF - 39 KB)
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