NHLBI Two-Step Review Process for Program Project Grant Applications

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health

July 16, 2010

The Special Review Committee (SRC) evaluates the technical merit of the individual projects and cores. Comprised of experts matched in expertise to the application, the SRC votes the final scores for the projects and either recommends or disapproves the cores.

The Program Project Review Committee (HLBP) discusses the merit of the overall application and votes the application’s overall impact/priority score. HLBP provides consistency and continuity for the overall scores of all program project grant applications reviewed. HLBP is comprised of experts in the areas of cardiac, pulmonary, hematological, and vascular medicine. Two members of HLBP are members of each SRC, thus providing first-hand knowledge of the SRC deliberations.

Special Review Committee
(a.k.a. “The Tailored Review Committee”)


Program Project Review Committee
(a.k.a. “The Parent Committee”)

Does --

  • Assess the overall impact and quality of the proposed research
  • Discuss:
    • synergy
    • leadership
    • innovation
    • preliminary data
    • productivity
    • central theme
    • significance
    • responses to previous critiques in amended applications
  • Evaluate the scientific and technical merit of each project
  • Vote an impact/priority score for each project
  • Evaluate core units on a pass/fail basis, specifically asking:
    • Is the core necessary for the success of the program?
    • Does the core serve two or more projects?
    • Is the core staffed by appropriate personnel?
  • Evaluate the budget and recommend adjustments

Does not --

  • Score the overall program

Does --

  • Consider the SRC’s evaluation of each project
  • Evaluate quality of the cores
  • Evaluate:
    • overall program project synergy
    • leadership
    • strength of the investigators
    • productivity
    • potential impact of the proposed research
  • Vote the overall impact/priority score for the entire program (NOTE: The overall impact/priority score will not necessarily reflect the arithmetic mean of the individual project impact/priority scores)
  • Determine which applications fall below the competitive range

Does not --

  • Discuss non-competitive applications