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Exemption Policy and Waivers


The Scientific Peer Review Policy will be optional for those applying for federal awards who fit the following criteria below. The investigator must have at least: 

  • 2 R01 or equivalent awards in the last 5 years OR
  • 1 R01 or equivalent award in the last 5 years and be an active standing member within a NIH study section 

Any questions regarding exemption can be directed to 



Who Qualifies for a K Waiver

  1. The PI participated in Dr. Rick McGee’s grant writing coaching groups
  2. The PI has confirmation from a faculty member (a non-mentor) who has agreed to review the submission and provide comments as a reviewer by the requested deadline (three weeks prior to submission).

How to Request a K Waiver

At the end of a completed SPR form, there is a question asking, “Is this a K proposal?”. After responding “Yes”, there is an option to request a K waiver, assuming the PI meets the requirements. If a K waiver id requested, the PI will be asked to upload two documents, both of which are required: a.) proof from Dr. McGee on the PI’s full attendance (dates) in the K proposal preparation program and b.) a confirmation from the non-mentor reviewer. After the form is submitted, it will be routed for K waiver approval. The PI will be notified about the decision within three business days.


Who Qualifies for a Late SPR Waiver

A waiver may be granted if the time between release of the grant announcement and grant deadline is less than eight weeks. Special circumstances for a late SPR waiver will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How to Request a Late SPR Waiver

Submit the SPR form with the correct sponsor deadline date. After submitting with a late deadline, the PI will get an email from Microsoft Flow with response options “Ask for SPR Waiver” or “Withdraw SPR Request”. Please respond to that email immediately and explain the reason for waiver in the comments section and hit “Submit” (see screenshot below). Only then it will go to the Scientific Director for approval. The PI will be notified of the decision within three business days.

Likelihood of Obtaining an SPR Waiver

Listed below are common scenarios for a waiver and the likelihood of obtaining one:

  • Period between the grant announcement and grant due date is less than 8 weeks? YES
  • PI received an SPR review in Cycle 1 but did not submit and will submit in Cycle 2? YES
  • PI did not get funded in Cycle 1 and is resubmitting in Cycle 2? NO
  • PI received a waiver for a grant in Cycle 1 so the PI assumes they will get a waiver for re-submission of the originally waived grant OR for all other grants? NO
  • PI has a good track record with external funding? NO

For questions please contact the Scientific Peer Review Administrator at