Edge Reviewer Instructions

Edge Reviewer Instructions

Get an internal reviewof your proposal
Advice for first-time reviewers.

Thank you for joining our reviewer pool! Our investigators are very grateful that you take the time to provide feedback on their applications.

Edge Reviews take place in the first weeks of January, May, and September, one month out from the three major NIH deadlines. Review sessions are typically held on Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning. You can always view this year’s dates on our Edge Review page.

Matching Process: How We Pick You to Review

We receive surveys of intent from applicants approximately one month before the Edge Reviews. These surveys include a list of research contents and methods identical to the one you used to fill out your expertise profile. We compare the applicants’ checked contents and methods with reviewers’ and look for the most points of contact. We can often get 7-10 matched areas of research and/or methods.

Important Note About Matching
Occasionally, we may have an applicant doing science that is not well represented in our reviewer pool. In those cases, we often match on methods only, and ask reviewers to comment on the use of specific methods rather than the content area. If an application assigned to you seems too foreign to review, contact Rebecca Helton (rebecca.helton@vumc.org), who can explain why you were matched with that particular application and what areas we would like you to review. Remember that two other reviewers will be giving the applicant feedback as well.

If you match to any applicant who submits a survey, about three weeks out from the review sessions you will receive an email asking about your availability for either of the two review dates. Just let us know which, if any, you are available for. If you are available for both, that’s great to know; we will only assign you to one.

You will never be assigned more than three grants to review. If you would like to review but can only handle one or two grants, just let us know in your response. You can also let us know if you are only available for part of a review session. As long as you have at least one hour available, we can arrange the schedule to have your assigned grants reviewed during that time.

Applicants submit their proposals approximately two weeks out from the Edge Review sessions. We then re-run the matching process, taking into account which applicants actually submitted materials and reviewers’ stated availability. Assignments are sent out as soon as possible, at least 10 days prior to the first Edge Review session of the cycle.

Reading and Reviewing Grants

As part of the email listing your assignments, you will be sent a link to a Box folder so you can download your assigned proposals. Grants are listed alphabetically by applicant’s last name. Sometimes an applicant will have two proposals under review; in this case, the grant title will be part of the file name. Please be sure to compare the title in your assignment email to the one on the file list.

Use the NIH critique form to comment on the application (form for all R grants and similarform for all K and other career development grants). These forms will be attached to your assignment email and are available in the Box folder list as well. If you are reviewing a different type of grant, such as a VA or foundation grant, use the form that is most relevant to the grant you’re reviewing.  If the grant proposal is for a non-NIH funding source, we will include a copy of the RFA in your assignment email or appended to the proposal.

Grants with human subjects should be using the human subjects attachments and forms rolled out by NIH in 2018. Download a list of what attachments should be included and what they should cover.

NIH has guidance on scoring, as well as specific guidance for R-series awards and K awards.

You may email your critiques to Rebecca Helton (rebecca.helton@vumc.org) at any time before or within 24 hours after the review session.

Review Session Structure

We run the review sessions as much as possible like an NIH study section.  Each application receives about 15 minutes of consideration, in the following format:

  1. First, second, and third reviewers state their initial impact scores.
  2. The first reviewer provides a brief synopsis of the application, then comments on strengths and weaknesses (up to 5 minutes)
  3. The second reviewer comments on strengths and weaknesses (up to 3 minutes).
  4. The third reviewer provides any further comments (up to 2 minutes).
  5. The entire group discusses the application (about 4 minutes). Unlike NIH study section, we encourage reviewers to use this time to suggest ways the applicant could improve their proposal.
  6. First, second, and third reviewers state final scores and record them on the score sheet provided.
  7. The rest of the group also scores the application on the score sheet.
  8. A staff member keeps time and projects each grant’s specific aims. Dr. Hartmann or another reviewer she designates in advance chairs the session.

Review sessions are taped, and applicants are sent the footage of their review. For those who do not have effort on the CTSA/VICTR, we offer a token of our appreciation in the form of an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card.

After the Review Session

At the end of the review session, make sure your name is on your score sheet, video release, and compensation form, then turn it in to the staff member attending.

Please email your critique forms to Rebecca Helton (rebecca.helton@vumc.org) within 24 hours after the review session. You are welcome to edit or update your critique to reflect the discussion.

mentor notes

Faculty with at least one R01 or equivalent can serve as an Edge Reviewer.

Reviewers are assigned no more than three proposals. Meetings are similar to NIH study section.

To serve as an Edge Reviewer, email Rebecca Helton.


Email rebecca.helton@vumc.org.

upcoming Edge Reviewer Instructions events [ view all events ]
August 20, 2024 | 8:00 am (In-Person) Camp Widjiwagan, Percy Priest Lake
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September 16, 2024 | 9:00 am (In-Person) Dr. Todd Edwards | 2525 West End, 6 Floor boardroom
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January 13, 2025 | 9:00 am (In-Person) Dr. Todd Edwards | 2525 West End, 6 Floor boardroom
Grant Pacing Workshop
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February 12, 2025 | 8:00 am (In-Person) Student Life Center
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Research Assistant Professor

Orthopaedic Surgery & Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Award Type
  • DOD

Assistant Professor

Medicine/Genetic Medicine
Award Type
  • New Investigator Award

Associate Professor

Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology
Award Type
  • R01

Assistant Professor

Dermatology; Biomedical Engineering
Award Type
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