Writing Tools

Edge Reviews

Get an internal reviewof your proposal
Edge Review is a NIH-like internal study section by senior Vanderbilt faculty. Reviews are conducted in advance of NIH cycles for R, K, or F series, or equivalents for basic and clinical investigation.

We offer an internal review by senior faculty of any R, K, or F application, as well as applications for other federal and foundation funding sources. We cannot review applications for VFRS or other K12 or equivalent programs on campus, only extramural awards. Proposals may include first submissions (A0), resubmissions (A1), and renewals for basic, translational and clinical investigation for the corresponding NIH cycle.



This service complements, but cannot replace, the input of your mentor, department or division senior faculty members.

All materials are due by 5:00 PM Central Time on the corresponding due date. No late submissions accepted.

You will receive an individual video recording link and reviewers’ written critiques within a few days of the review, giving you time to respond to recommendations before it’s time to submit to the NIH. You are strongly encouraged to watch the video with your mentor. (Note: AIDS reviews are not videotaped.)

mentor notes

Faculty with at least one R01 or equivalent can be a reviewer. Email Rebecca Helton.

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

View info for first-time reviewers.

How it Works

Identify the NIH submission date and corresponding Vanderbilt due dates (2024).

Complete a Survey of Intent

Complete a Survey of Intent by the corresponding due date. You will need your draft abstract, specific aims page and current NIH biosketch.


Email a SINGLE PDF of below listed Grant Materials by the corresponding due date to rebecca.helton@vumc.org.


The minimum requirements are called out below. All other documents are strongly encouraged in order to receive the most thorough review.

  1. Cover letter – can be to us or your NIH institute
  2. Project Summary/Abstract ~30 lines
  3. Summary Statement if revision/resubmission
  4. Your response if revision/resubmission
  5. REQUIRED: Specific Aims – single page
  6. REQUIRED: Research Strategy – note/highlight your responses if revision/resubmission
  7. References cited
  8. Facilities and Resources
  9. PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Attachments (if applicable)
  10. REQUIRED: Key personnel NIH biosketches
  11. Letters of support – can be unsigned drafts
  12. Budget – include what you have
  13. REQUIRED for K awards: Candidate background and career goals, mentor letter, and Responsible Conduct of Research training plan (mentor letter required beginning May 2024)
  1. Use the NIH format required for your application.
  2. Reference the correct RFA for your application.
  3. Include as much information as you can to help ensure you receive the best possible review. We understand some letters of support and budgets may not be completely ready at the time of review.

Email rebecca.helton@vumc.org

upcoming Edge Reviews events [ view all events ]
August 20, 2024 | 8:00 am (In-Person) Camp Widjiwagan, Percy Priest Lake
Faculty Life
Pre/Post Doc
Early career faculty
Mid career faculty
Senior faculty
September 16, 2024 | 9:00 am (In-Person) Dr. Todd Edwards | 2525 West End, 6 Floor boardroom
Grant Pacing Workshop
Grants & Funding
Pre/Post Doc
January 13, 2025 | 9:00 am (In-Person) Dr. Todd Edwards | 2525 West End, 6 Floor boardroom
Grant Pacing Workshop
Grants & Funding
Pre/Post Doc
February 12, 2025 | 8:00 am (In-Person) Student Life Center
Doing Research
Pre/Post Doc
Early career faculty
Mid career faculty
Senior faculty
Your grant reviewed by senior faculty.
Very helpful. I cannot imagine submitting a grant without first going through Edge Review anymore. This is a must have.

~ Edge Review Participant

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this. It was helpful for me to have this experience and I hope my comments are helpful to the applicants. I have used this resource several times as an applicant and have found it invaluable when writing my own grants.

~ Edge Reviewer

This is extremely helpful and glad to have this feedback ahead of time so that hopefully I can get a better score on the real thing!

~ Edge Review Participant

a checklist for successful submission

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