peer review notes

New Form Helps Guide the Assignment and Review of Your Application

An image of the NIH Assignment Request Form page.  Source: OER/NIH
An image of the NIH Assignment Request Form page. Source: OER/NIH

NIH has created a new electronic form to help you better convey assignment requests and other information you may want to give us before we review your grant application. We made this change to speed-up and more accurately process your applications, since extracting assignment requests and review information from cover letters took time and could easily produce errors.

What Do I Include in the New Assignment Request Form?

  • Requests for assignment to (or not to) specific institutes/centers
  • Requests for assignment to (or not to) specific review groups
  • Brief lists of people who might be in conflict with your application (and why)
  • Types of expertise needed to review your application

What Do I Need to Know About the Form?

  • All assignment requests must now be made using this form.
  • The form is optional and can be found with the other optional forms in the application packet
  • If you use the form, you do not need to include more than a single request
  • This is a form page and not an attachment, so it does not need to be uploaded and attached to the application like a cover letter PDF.

When Do I Still Need to Attach a Cover Letter to My Application?

Use a cover letter if you need to send us:


  • Reasons why your application may have been submitted late
  • Information about any videos that you may provide as post-submission materials
  • A statement that proposed studies will generate large-scale human/non-human genomic data
  • Special agency approvals such as $500k or conference grant approvals
  • Special information about subaward budgets


Cover letters are kept confidential and only staff with a need to know can see them.

If you submit a cover letter, you should not add an assignment or review request to it. The new Assignment Request Form is the only way to submit these requests.
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