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National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)

Grants: Peer Review

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How to Become a Grant Reviewer for Any Federal Agency

For a good general overview on what to expect when you become a grant reviewer for almost any federal agency, check out How to Become a Grant Reviewer, an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education

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Why Does NIDILRR Use a Peer Review Process?

NIDILRR uses a peer review process to evaluate the quality of the disability and rehabilitation research proposals it receives. It is required to do so by federal regulation (read the specific subpart of the posted regulation). NIDILRR is constantly expanding and maintaining its pool of potential reviewers, so that all of our applicants continue to have their proposals reviewed by the best available experts in the field.

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How Is the Peer Review Process Conducted?

NIDILRR peer review panels are conducted via teleconference. These peer review panels are typically comprised of 5–7 individuals who have the required skills, training or expertise to evaluate the content of applications submitted under specific priorities. Using competition-specific evaluation criteria provided by NIDILRR, peer reviewers score and comment upon applications through a web-based scoring system. These panels typically meet for 3 days, to discuss the submitted applications.

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When Does NIDILRR Conduct the Peer Review Process?

NIDILRR assembles peer review panels based on the expertise that it needs for specific competitions that take place at different times throughout the fiscal year. If your skills, training, or expertise corresponds to the topical area of the grant competition we are running, we would contact you about 8 weeks before the panel is scheduled to meet. Through this initial contact, we would determine your interest and availability to serve on the panel.

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How Do I Become a Potential NIDILRR Peer Reviewer?

To become part of NIDILRR’s ever-expanding pool of potential peer review candidates, please submit your name, contact information and a current resume by email to

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What Happens If You are Chosen to Participate?

If we choose you to serve on a peer review panel, we strongly recommend you view NIDILRR’s Online Peer Reviewer Orientation. Note: This peer review orientation still refers to the U.S. Department of Education (pre-WIOA). We are working to update the peer reviewer orientation so it contains ACL information.

Still have questions? You can email us at and we will direct your question to the appropriate NIDILRR staff person.

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Last Modified: 2/16/2017