In an effort to keep good peer reviewers coming back, the National Institutes of Health is letting "permanent" reviewers, who typically serve for four years on chartered study sections, submit their own R01, R21, and R34 grant applications at any time, disregarding standard deadlines. NIH spokesman Don Luckett told me the agency decided to adopt the change after receiving feedback from long-term reviewers that their service put them at a disadvantage by requiring them to review applications while preparing their own. Doing away with deadlines for these reviewers "is a big advantage," he said, "and we're hoping it will be an incentive for reviewers to sign up" to review applications. Luckett said that applications submitted outside of standard deadlines would be reviewed within 120 days of submission, the same approximate turnaround time as applications submitted by deadline. The NIH currently has approximately 4,000 reviewers who would qualify for this extended...
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