Scientific Peer Review Process FAQs

Listed below are frequently asked questions on the Scientific Peer Review process. For any additional questions not listed out below, please contact the Scientific Peer Review Administrator at For further information, please visit our Scientific Peer Review Process and Scientific Peer Review Exemption Policy and Waivers pages.


General Questions

ALL Principal Investigator(s) who are employed by Lurie Children’s and its affiliated practice plans (e.g., Pediatric Faculty Foundation—PFF, Children’s Surgical Foundation—CSF, and Lurie Children’s Medical Group) whether the research is conducted at Lurie Children’s or Northwestern University.

Does this apply to:

  1. PIs in the Pediatric Department who conduct work in IPHAM? YES
  2. PIs in the Surgery Department who conduct outcomes research? YES
  3. PIs who utilized NU’s Office of Sponsored Research for submissions? YES

ALL Prime PI grant submissions to any Federal agency—NIH, DHHS, CDC, NSF, AHRQ, DoD, HRSA, PCORI, etc.

SBIR and STTR applications are not applicable, as are non-Federal proposals. If you are unsure, contact the Scientific Peer Review Administrator.

Does this apply to certain types of training grants?

  1. Federal K awards (e.g. K23)  YES *
  2. Federal F awards (e.g. F31)  NO
  3. Federal T awards (e.g. T32)  NO

* K awards may qualify for a waiver of Scientific Peer Review.  See SPR Exemption and Waiver Policy for more information

No, a review is not required for a LOI. In addition, if the time span between approval of your LOI and the final submission due date is less than 10 weeks, you qualify for a waiver. (See below for additional waiver information)

Yes, but it is not mandatory. The PI should follow all of the other procedures for a Federal grant submission process outlined in the FAQ immediately below.

At 10 WEEKS prior to submission:

  • PI, Department, Division, Neighborhood within SQBRC - if applicable
  • Additional person’s email - optional
  • Draft Abstract or Specific Aims
  • Research Topic - one sentence
  • Intended funding agency
  • Intended funding agency submission deadline
  • Earlier target deadline - if applicable
  • Funding mechanism
  • Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) title and/or link
  • Indicate if this is a grant resubmission
  • Mentor(s) name and home institution - required for mentored proposals only
  • Three (3) recommended reviewers
  • Not recommended reviewers- optional
  • Names of other Lurie Children's or Northwestern University collaborators - optional

At 7 weeks prior to submission:

  • Proposal/project title​
  • Specific aims/abstract
  • Research strategy/research Plan
  • Federal reviewer's critiques - required only for resubmission
  • Introduction to application/response to reviewer critiques - required only for resubmission
  • Multiple PI leadership plan – required only for MPI proposals
  • Career development plan – required only for K awards
  • Other relevant documents – The PI may optionally include other relevant grant documents (e.g., clinical trial safety plan, human subjects, etc.).      

See Scientific Peer Review Process for more information.

The PI should provide a penultimate draft. This means a relatively final form with no or very few blank spaces. Additional edits can be made, including changes that result from reviewer comments, before the final submission to the granting body.

The Scientific Peer Review Request would be considered incomplete and the Scientific Peer Review will not occur. This will result in the PI not being able to submit their grant in the current grant cycle.

The Scientific Peer Review is simply advisory and a rebuttal is not necessary. The PI does not have to make the recommended changes. It is hoped, however, that the reviewers' comments will be strongly considered before the final submission is sent.

Review Timing

The grant materials submission would be considered late. Because the assigned reviewer receives 3 weeks to complete their review, a late submission would result in the applicant receiving less time than the tranditionally allotted 3 weeks to incorporate reviewer comments into their final funding application. 

Yes, the PI may submit the Scientific Peer Review Request form earlier than 10 weeks prior to the grant submission date. If the PI would like an earlier review (to receive the review more than 3 weeks prior to the grant submission date), they must indicate the target date, as opposed to the federal deadline, in the SPR form, with the understanding that the target date must be at least 10 weeks from the point of form submission.

The Scientific Peer Review Request would be considered late and will go to Scientific Director for a late waiver, after prompted by the PI (see Scientific Peer Review Exemption and Waiver Policy). If the waiver is rejected, the peer review will not occur and the PI will not be able to submit their grant in the current grant cycle.


  • Reviewers must be internal to either Lurie Children’s or Northwestern University.
  • PIs who have had Federal funding in the last three (3) years are preferred.
  • PIs who have served on NIH or other Federal level grant review panels are preferred.

Only one (1) reviewer will provide feedback for each project.

The reviews will be anonymous unless the reviewer agrees not to be anonymous. 

If the reviewer does not want to remain anonymous, and the PI and/or reviewer would like to further communicate regarding the review, the Scientific Peer Review Administrator will mediate this interaction, if both parties agree.