Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Center for Community Health

Pre-Submission Peer Review for NIH Proposals

Soliciting applications with deadlines in January and February. Reviewers will be NIH-funded Northwestern faculty who have significant experience with peer review. They will be individually customized to the scientific and/or career development activities being proposed.  This new offering is intended to complement, not replace, other guidance on developing and writing successful research proposals, such as the Grant Writers Groups led by Dr. McGee, departmental/division mentoring and peer review activities, and general collegial support.

To be effective, the Panels must be able to review and provide feedback far enough in advance of grant deadlines so that changes and improvements can be made. Therefore, to take advantage of this new resource, the following required schedules have been established:

What to Submit

When to Submit

Good draft of Aims page

2.5 months prior to submission deadline

Full Proposal – semi-final draft ready for review

1.5 months prior to submission deadline


  1. Submit Specific Aims page to Rick McGee, PhD, ( – 3-1737) by appropriate deadline based on intended submission date.  Aims page will be used to identify appropriate faculty reviewers.  Identified reviewers will be asked to provide initial feedback on the Specific Aims page, as will Dr. McGee and/or Dr. Lowe. NOTE: Suggestions for potential reviewers who are NOT directly involved with the proposal are encouraged.
  2. By Full Proposal Deadline, submit to Dr. McGee the fully developed proposal components including:
    a.    Specific Aims page – include even if not changed since Request version
    b.    Significance, Innovation and Approach sections
    c.     NIH Biosketches of PI and all Key and other significant personnel
    d.    For resubmissions, Summary Statement of prior review and Introduction response
    e.    For K proposal, also submit other major sections including letters of support from mentors and Institutional Commitment (to be reviewed only by Faculty Affairs)
  3. Approximately 2 weeks after submission of the full proposal, reviewers will provide written reviews using the standard NIH format.  An in-person meeting will also be scheduled to discuss reviews with the peer reviewers plus Dr. McGee, Dr. Lowe, or other leaders from NUCATS.