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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration

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Understand the Review Process

Understanding Review Process image.Every grant application receives a comprehensive review, conducted by an outside panel of independent subject matter experts who volunteer or are nominated to become grant reviewers.

Each application is reviewed by three reviewers, who separately score the application according to review criteria spelled out in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. 

After all applications are reviewed, the reviewers for a given opportunity convene in person or by web conference to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each application and arrive at a consensus score. The panel creates a rank order list, which HRSA uses to determine which applications receive funding.

For each application, the panel also develops a summary report. Applicants receive their own summary reports, which they can use as constructive feedback for future applications.

Review Criteria

Section V of the Funding Opportunity Announcement describes in detail the review criteria that will be used to evaluate and score applications. 

Standard review criteria, common among almost all opportunities, are as follows:

  • Needs assessment;
  • Response;
  • Evaluative measures;
  • Impact;
  • Resources/capabilities; and
  • Support requested.

Most funding opportunity announcements include more specific criteria for each category and many list additional review criteria, such as cultural competence.