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Major restructuring of the initial review groups (IRG's) that judge the scientific merit of investigator-initiated NIH grant applications will impact the review of all glycobiology-related grant applications. Resources on this page are intended to inform you about the restructuring and provide you with recommendations and tools that may assist you in ensuring that the CSR provides the most appropriate review of your glycobiology-related NIH grant application.
When your application reaches the CSR, a Referral Officer determines the most appropriate Integrated Review Group (IRG) to assess its scientific merit. Referral Officers follow published IRG guidelines that define the scientific mandate and expertise of each IRG. The mandates frequently overlap. See link for application referral.
As an applicant, you should use the published IRG guidelines to familiarize yourself with the scientific missions and rosters of the IRG's relevant to your application, and request suitable IRG assignment in a cover letter at the time of submission (do not name particular scientists in your cover letter).When you are advised by the CSR that your application has been assigned to a particular IRG, you should study its roster to ensure that proper glycobiology expertise is included. To assist in that task, the Society for Glycobiology has created a text file of search terms that can be pasted into Pubmed to retrieve ~300,000 glycobiology-related references. By crossing these (using the "AND" function) with any member of the IRG roster, you can determine whether they are a contributing glycobiologist. If there is not glycobiology expertise on the IRG roster to which you are assigned, you have at least the following two options. You may contact the scientific review administrator (SRA) of that IRG, AND the chief of the division in which that IRG is included to request re-assignment to a more appropriate IRG. Alternatively, you may contact the SRA of that IRG and request that sufficient ad hoc representation is added to the roster to ensure that the necessary expertise is present. When doing so, you may request that the added ad hoc reviewer(s) be present at the meeting, rather than submit written reports or phone reviews that are typically less convincing. Do not request specific ad hoc reviewers by name, since naming a potential reviewer for your own application typically disqualifies them from consideration.
Referral is based on disease/organ/basic science interests, and not discipline (such as glycobiology). However, the following IRG's have been targeted by CSR as particularly suitable for glycobiology-related applications: ICI, EBT, MBPP, III, DMP, TME and LCMI. Other disease and organ related IRG's have aspects of glycobiology in their mission. Only by studying the published IRG guidelines and rosters, can you determine whether a particular IRG is likely to be equipped to review your application.
At the November 2005 Society for Glycobiology meeting in Boston, Dr. Don Schneider, Director of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms at CSR, provided his perspective on the grant review process SPECIFICALLY as it relates to glycobiology-related grant applications. He has been kind enough to supply the Society with his presentation, in PowerPoint format, for posting on this site.