NIH Review Process and Outcome of Applications for Grants and Contracts
HRD-89-17: Published: Feb 3, 1989. Publicly Released: Feb 3, 1989.
- Full Report:
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) procedures for awarding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) research grants and contracts during fiscal year (FY) 1986.
GAO found that the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: (1) awarded 90 percent of FY 1986 NIH AIDS funding; (2) used a dual review system for evaluating solicited grant proposals, in accordance with NIH policy; (3) had varying procedures for reviewing and approving unsolicited grant applications; and (4) varied in their use of secondary review groups for research contract proposals. GAO also found that NIH: (1) began using an expedited process to reduce the average 10- to 11-month review period to 6 months; (2) in 1986, replaced its New Investigator Research Award Program with the First Independent Research Support and Transition Award Program to support newly independent biomedical investigators; and (3) assisted potential applicants by notifying them of peer review results, discussing application problems, answering questions regarding proposed research, and suggesting proposal revisions. In addition, GAO found that applicants receiving NIH AIDS funding frequently, but not always: (1) had more relevant expertise than other applicants; (2) were 40 years of age or younger; (3) previously served on an NIH-chartered review committee; (4) were prior recipients of NIH grants or contracts; and (5) held masters or doctoral degrees.