Review and Evaluation Process

Review Process

Each application will be assigned a minimum of two reviewers. The evaluation criteria will consist of several components, as detailed below.

Reviewers will be asked to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal based on the evaluation criteria listed below.  Each project will be scored according to the NIH scoring system.

A Scientific Selection Committee comprised of CFAR members and others with relevant expertise will convene a formal review of submitted applications. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their review and will receive written summary statements by July 1, 2019 to enhance their ability to benefit from future funding opportunities.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Overall Impact: Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of 1) the likelihood for the candidate to maintain a strong research program, in consideration of all of the following review criteria, and 2) the likelihood that the proposed project will generate findings capable of supporting an application for funding from the NIH.

Scored Review Criteria:

  • Candidate: Does the candidate have the potential to develop as an independent and productive researcher? Are the candidate’s prior training and research experience appropriate for this award? Is there evidence of the candidate’s commitment to meeting the program objectives?
  • Research Plan: Is it likely that the proposed project can be completed within a 20- month period? Are the methods and proposed analyses adequately developed and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the proposed project apply culturally responsive HIV/AIDS research that can be used to expand HIV-related knowledge within Latino/Hispanic communities in the U.S.? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternatives?
  • Mentor(s), Co-Mentor(s), Consultant(s), and/or Collaborator(s): Are the PI, collaborator, and other participating researchers well suited to the project? Do they either have, or have a plan for accessing, appropriate experience and training? Do the mentors have, or have access to, expertise that complements or fills gaps in the expertise of the PI? Is there an adequate description of the quality and extent of the mentor(s) proposed role in providing guidance and advice to the candidate?
  • Environment (University & Community) and Institutional/Community Commitment to the Candidate: Are available resources in the institution(s) described adequately? Does the applicant propose collaboration with any CFAR Cores? Is the environment for scientific and professional development of the candidate of high quality?
  • Mentoring Plan: Are the PI’s professional development goals for the project period identified? Is at least one SMAART outcome objective provided for each professional development goal? (Click Here to download a handout on SMAART outcome objectives.) Does each outcome objective describe a specific, measurable, ambitious yet achievable, relevant, and time-bounded definition of success for having achieved that goal? Is the proposed list of mentoring, education, and/or training activities appropriate for meeting the stated goals and objectives? Is a communication plan provided that describes how, the frequency, and under what circumstances members of the CFAR Adelante team will be in formal and informal contact with each other? Does the proposed communication plan and accompanying CFAR Adelante team meeting schedule demonstrate a commitment to meeting the goals and objectives described in the mentoring plan?

Additional Review Criteria (if applicable):

  • Protection for Human Subjects: For research that involves human subjects, does the application evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation?
  • Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children: For research involving human subjects, does the application provide justification in terms of research goals and research strategy for inclusion (or exclusion) on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity?
  • Vertebrate Animals: Is the proposed research involving vertebrate animals scientifically appropriate, including the justification for animal usage and protections for research animals described in the Vertebrate Animal section (and method of euthanasia described in the Cover Page Supplement or PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form, if applicable)?

Additional Review Considerations:

  • Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research: Does the application, in particular the mentoring plan, include instruction in RCR? How adequately does the proposed RCR training relate to the following five components: 1) Format — includes face-to-face instruction; 2) Subject Matter — includes conflict of interest, authorship, research ethics, etc.; 3) Mentor Participation — is the role of the mentor clearly defined?; 4) Time — is enough time allotted to meet the mentoring plan outlined?; and, 5) Frequency — does the  agreement involve instruction for the mentee throughout the grant period?
  • Budget and Period of Support: Is the budget fully justified? Is it reasonable in relation to the proposed research? Does it meet the constraints of the CFAR Adelante program?