Scientific Review Branch (SRB)

Several hands holding puzzle pieces with various work-related icons, reaching toward each other across a wooden table to connect the pieces into one image. SRB is responsible for a broad range of functions related to the review of grant applications and contract proposals. The branch also coordinates the planning and conduct of initial scientific and technical merit reviews of many types of grant applications, including the following:

  • Career development awards (Ks)
  • Research projects (R03s and only R01s responsive to NICHD requests for applications)
  • Conference grants (R13s)
  • Research education programs (R25)
  • Program projects (P01s)
  • Centers and data coordinating centers (P20s, P30s, P50s, P2Cs, PL1s, U01s, UG1s, U24s, U54s)
  • Institutional career development (K12) and institutional training grants (T32s)
  • Loan repayment program grants L30, L32, L40, L50, L60, and L70

The branch also assembles technical evaluation groups of extramural scientists to evaluate contract proposals that arrive in response to requests for proposals issued by the institute.

SRB Scientific Review Officers (SROs) oversee all aspects of the peer-review process, managing study sections, organizing special emphasis panel review meetings as needed, and recruiting scientists outside of NIH to serve as peer reviewers.

To review grant applications, SRB relies on eight study sections or, when appropriate, special emphasis panels (SEPs), convened for expertise in a specific area of science. Select the Study Sections and Special Emphasis Panels link to learn more.


For due dates on or after January 25, 2025: Changes are coming for how most research grant applications will be reviewed. Learn about the new simplified review framework.


SRB seeks experienced scientists to serve as reviewers. The qualifications for being a reviewer include:

  • Current or recent research funding from NIH or another organization
  • Record of published research
  • Interest in a broad range of sciences
  • Commitment to objectivity and fairness
  • Willingness to provide thoughtful and constructive critiques

The branch also seeks SEP members from a diverse representation of institutions and backgrounds.

Standing study sections require expert representation for each scientific area reviewed by the group. Membership is a 4-year commitment and involves three meetings per year.

For SEPs, the science can span the entire breadth of basic, clinical, and translational science supported by NICHD and varies significantly from one review panel to the next.

Those interested in becoming a reviewer for SRB should email the SRO listed for the study section that most closely describes their expertise. Please use the subject line “Volunteer Reviewer” and include your curriculum vitae, as well as a summary of broad and specific areas of scientific expertise and techniques.

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