Policies and Procedures
The peer review process at NCIPC consists of three steps: primary scientific peer review, secondary review and the Director’s Briefing. In the primary peer review applications are evaluated for scientific merit by an extramural panel. In the Secondary review successful applications from the primary peer review process are evaluated for programmatic balance and mission relevance. In the Director’s Briefing funding decisions are made by the NCIPC Director based on the results and recommendations from the review processes.
The solicitation process at NCIPC involves obtaining proposals submitted in response to a funding opportunity announcement, program announcement or request for applications. Applications received are reviewed for completeness by the CDC/Procurement and Grants Office (PGO) and then forwarded to the NCIPC. After applications have been processed into NCIPC, the Executive Secretary (also referred to as the Scientific Review Administrator) for the NCIPC Initial Review Group, along with a subject matter expert and Science Program Administrator, review each application for responsiveness to the announcement. Incomplete applications and applications that are non-responsive to the eligibility criteria do not advance through the review process. These are notified that their applications did not meet submission requirements. Applications that are complete and responsive to the announcement are evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review panel convened by NCIPC in accordance with the review criteria listed in the announcement.
Primary Scientific Peer Review Process
The primary scientific peer review is conducted by the NCIPC Initial Review Group (IRG) along with ad hoc members. This is a closed meeting which involves a rigorous process where the methods and scientific quality of applications are evaluated to identify proposals most likely to successfully contribute to the research priorities of the announcement. The review process is modified from the National Institute of Health (NIH) peer review process. Applications may be subjected to a preliminary evaluation (streamline or triage review) by the IRG to determine if the application is of sufficient technical and scientific merit to warrant further review. NCIPC withdraws from further consideration applications judged to be noncompetitive and the principal investigator/ program director’s notified in a timely manner. Applications judged to be competitive will receive further evaluation by the IRG. These applications are reviewed for scientific merit using the criteria outlined in the announcement and the NIH scoring system (a scoring system of 100 – 500 points; where 500 is the worst).
The criteria used to assess the application’s scientific merit include but are not limited to: significance; approach; innovation; investigator; environment; protection of human subjects from research risks; plan for inclusion of women, minorities, and children; and measures of effectiveness. Each application is evaluated on its own scientific merit and not in comparison to other applications submitted in response to the program announcement or request for applications. Information related to this project not provided in the application cannot become a part of the panel discussion. Panel members can only evaluate information in the written proposal. All competitive applications are thoroughly evaluated by three assigned reviewers followed by an in-depth discussion by the entire panel. Each panel member votes individually on the applications. Upon completion of this process, an aggregated score of the panel is used to determine the priority score for the summary statement that will be sent to each applicant that also outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the application. Applications with a score from 100 to 350 proceed to Secondary Review where they are assessed for programmatic relevance and balance by the Science and Program Review Subcommittee of the NCIPC Advisory Committee for Injury Prevention and Control (ACIPC). After the peer review meeting is completed, applicants should correspond with the scientific program administrator or project officer assigned to the announcement for the status of the application.
Secondary Review Process
The secondary review is conducted by the Science and Program Review Subcommittee (SPRS) of the Advisory Committee for Injury Prevention and Control (ACIPC). ACIPC Federal agency experts are invited to attend the secondary review and receive modified briefing books (i.e., abstracts, strengths and weaknesses from summary statements, and project officer’s briefing materials). ACIPC Federal agency experts participate in deliberations when applications address overlapping areas of research interest, so that unwarranted duplication in federally-funded research can be avoided and special subject area expertise can be shared. The NCIPC Division Associate Directors for Science (ADS) or their designees attend the secondary review in a similar capacity as the ACIPC Federal agency experts to assure that research priorities of the announcement are understood and to provide background regarding current research activities. Only SPRS members vote on funding recommendations and their recommendations are carried to the entire ACIPC for voting by the ACIPC members in closed session. If any further review is needed by the ACIPC regarding the recommendations of the SPRS, the factors considered will be the same as those considered by the SPRS.
- The ACIPC develops funding recommendations for the NCIPC Director based on the results of the primary review, the relevance and balance of proposed research relative to the NCIPC programs and priorities, and assures that unwarranted duplication of federally-funded research does not occur. The secondary review committee has the latitude to recommend to the NCIPC Director to reach over better ranked proposals in order to assure maximal impact and balance of proposed research.
Director’s Briefing Process
At the Director’s Briefing, the results from the review processes are presented in the form of staff analysis. All awards are determined by the Director of the NCIPC based on priority scores assigned to applications by the primary scientific review panel (IRG), recommendations by the secondary review committee of the Science and Program Review Subcommittee of the ACIPC, consultation with NCIPC senior staff, and the availability of funds.
After awards are made by the CDC/Procurement and Grants Office, an announcement is made notifying the public of the new funded projects by our Center. Public announcement of awards is prohibited until PGO makes the official notification of award to the recipient. The description (abstract) of the grant is placed on the NCIPC website.
Post Award Administration
NCIPC project officers (PO) are responsible for monitoring awards. The PO is responsible for the continuous monitoring of the programmatic performance of the particular project. Monitoring is accomplished through the review and assessment of information gathered from audit reports, progress reports, financial reports, site visits, correspondence and peer review. The PO may also visit the institution to evaluate scientific progress, especially when problems or weaknesses are identified. When problems or weaknesses are found, the PO works with the recipient institution to resolve or begin the resolution of the troublesome issues. When additional scientific expertise is needed invite for monitoring, review of reports or site visits, it may become necessary to appropriate intramural scientists to provide assistance with this task.