Scientific Peer Review FAQs

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


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 8 weeks, you may qualify for a waiver.

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 8 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
  • Three (3) recommended reviewers
  • Not recommended reviewers- optional
  • Names of other Lurie Children's or Northwestern University collaborators - optional

At 6 weeks prior to submission:

  • Proposal/project title‚Äč
  • 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 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.

The grant materials submission would be considered late and would result in review by the scientific director of the SPR process to determine if the PI will be able to submit their application. The submitter should complete the relevant prompts for a late submission as part of the SPR application.

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.

See SPR Exemption and Waiver Policy.