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Appeals of Scientific Review

Who do I contact if I have a concern about the peer review of my application?

Before the formal appeals process, the investigator is strongly advised to speak with the NIDCR Program Director who is responsible for the application and whose name is indicated on the summary statement.  The Program Director can explain the options and the consequences, and can advise the PI with respect to the reviewer’s recommendations.  In most cases, issues and concerns can be resolved at this stage.

What are my options?

There are three options open to investigators to address the outcome of the application review process.  The first option is revision and resubmission of the application based upon the recommendations of the review panel.  This is the approach taken most often and most often results in a favorable outcome.  The second option is to start over and submit a completely new application.  This approach may be recommended if the reviewers felt that there are too many serious problems with the idea behind the original application.  The final option is to appeal the outcome of the review.

What is an appeal?

If issues regarding review cannot be resolved by NIDCR staff, the PI has the option of submitting a formal appeal.  Appeals must be based on procedural flaws in the review process including: i) bias in the review, ii) conflict of interest, iii) lack of appropriate expertise, and iv) factual errors in the review.  The appeals process is not intended to deal with differences in scientific opinion between or among the applicant and reviewers.  If appeals cannot be resolved by NIDCR staff, they may be taken to the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council (NADCRC) for a final decision.

What is the process for pursuing an appeal?

It is highly recommended that the applicant consult with their Program Director before submitting a formal appeal.  For issues that cannot be resolved through discussion, the applicant can submit a letter of appeal to the Program Director as soon as possible following receipt of the summary statement for the application.  Program and Review Staff will attempt to resolve the issues and take the appropriate action.  If the issues cannot be resolved by staff, the appeal letter and all relevant documentation may be taken to the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council (NADCRC).  The NADCRC may agree with either the review panel or the applicant. 

What are the possible outcomes of an appeal?

The appeal can either be upheld or denied.  If upheld, the application will be re-reviewed by either the same or a different review panel.  No changes or additions can be made to the application prior to re-review.  If the appeal is denied, the applicant must revise and resubmit the application for the next review cycle.  In this case the applicant may lose a significant amount of time between the original application and submission of the revised application.  The Program Director can often give valuable advice about revising an application.

What are the timelines for submission of an appeal and notification of outcome?

Appeal letters must be submitted to the appropriate Program Director at least 15 working days before the next Council meeting.  If the appeal letter is received in less than 15 working days, it will be deferred to the next Council meeting.  The applicant will receive written acknowledgement of the appeal letter within 10 business days.  The applicant will receive written notification of the outcome of an appeal not later than 30 days following receipt of the appeal letter, or of the Council meeting.

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014