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Appeals Procedure for Applicants

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


The intent of the appeals process is to provide an avenue for resolving any procedural issues surrounding the initial peer review of an application. The appeals process is used when the issue cannot be resolved administratively. Additional information on the appeals of initial scientific review can be found in the NIH Guide Notice, Appeals of NIH Peer Review, NOT-OD-11-064: April 15, 2011.


There are four types of procedural flaws that can form the basis of an appeal: bias, conflict of interest, lack of appropriate scientific expertise, and factual errors. Differences in scientific opinion and concerns or complaints about those policies regulating the conduct of initial peer review are not grounds for an appeal.

An applicant who is concerned about any procedural aspect of the completed initial peer review of an application should first consider the comments in the summary statement and then contact the appropriate NHLBI Program Official (PO). The PO may answer questions about the summary statement and review outcome as well as provide guidance to the applicant.

Letters addressing the peer review of grant applications are carefully evaluated by senior Institute staff to determine whether the issues raised constitute a formal appeal, as defined in the NIH Guide Notice, referenced above. Letters of appeal must document concurrence from the Authorized Organization Representative of the applicant institution. Only those letters deemed formal appeals are brought to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council for discussion.

NIH-wide policy prohibits the simultaneous submission and review of a resubmission (amended) application if an appeal of the original application is pending. An application is in a pending status until the appeal has been resolved by Institute staff. The NIH-wide policy on resubmissions is based on the long-standing policy not to accept an application that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial or secondary (i.e., Council) peer review. Therefore, if an appeal of the original application is pending Council review, then the applicant organization must withdraw the appeal of the original application in order to submit a resubmission (amended) application.

Appeal letters concerning the initial peer review outcome of applications submitted in response to Requests for Applications (RFAs) will not be accepted. For more information, please refer to section 2.4.2 (Appeals of Initial Scientific Review) of the NIH Grants Policy Statement (dated 10/1/2011).


  • The deadline for receipt of all letters is 12 working days prior to the Council meeting.
  • In order for NIH staff and Council members to give careful and full consideration to an appeal, every effort should be made to ensure that letters arrive 12 or more working days before the Council meeting. The NHLBI recognizes that there may be extenuating circumstances that prevent a letter from arriving by the deadline, and such letters may be brought to the Council meeting at the discretion of the Institute.
  • Meeting dates for the Council can be found at:

Council Decision

  • The applicant will be notified of the Council's decision within 30 working days after the Council meeting.

Last Updated December 2011

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