Understanding the NIH review process: A brief guide to writing grant proposals in neurotoxicology

G. Audesirk, T. Burbacher, T. R. Guilarte, N. K. Laughlin, R. Lopachin, J. Suszkiw, H. Tilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


During the past two years, the National Institutes of Health have made significant changes in the review process for investigator-initiated research grant applications in neurotoxicology. First, study sections that formerly dealt with toxicology and alcohol, respectively, have been merged. Neurotoxicology grant applications are now reviewed by ALTX-3, a study section in which the majority of members have expertise in the neuronal, biochemical or behavioral effects of alcohol, but usually not other neurotoxicants. Second, the NIH has instituted new review criteria, in which significance, approach, innovation, investigator expertise, and research environment must all be explicitly addressed by the reviews. In this article, past and present members of the ALTX-3 study section describe the NIH review process, with emphasis on how neurotoxicology applications are handled, and provide guidelines for preparing competitive applications. Following is an outline of this brief guide: I. Introduction; II. The ALTX. 3 Study Section; A. Study Section Expertise; B. Study Section Workload; III. New Review Criteria; IV. Features of Successful Grant Applications; A. Background and Specific Aims; B. Preliminary Data and/or Progress Report; C. Experimental Design; D. Revised Applications; E. Updating your Application (Sending Post- Submission Material); V. Summary; VI. Acknowledgments; VII. References.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Grant Proposals
  • Grant Reviews
  • Guide to Writing
  • NIH Review Process
  • Neurotoxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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