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Frontiers Mock Study Section

Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute will host Mock Study Sections semiannually to facilitate pre-submission review of National Institutes of Health (NIH) R and K series grant applications. Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute will host Mock Study Sections semiannually to facilitate pre-submission review of National Institutes of Health (NIH) R and K series grant applications. These sessions are intended to provide advance review of planned proposal submissions by Frontiers-affiliated clinical and translational science researchers. The purpose of this program is to increase the likelihood of NIH funding success by providing feedback to prospective applicants on grant proposals prior to submission. The mock study sections simulate an actual NIH study section, providing timely feedback to prospective applicants using the NIH's review criteria.


The NIH Mock Study Section is available to clinical and translational researchers affiliated with any Frontiers institution. The service is open to all career stages whose work is defined by the NIH as Clinical and Translational Research (CTR). The NIH definition includes patient-oriented research, epidemiologic and behavioral studies, outcomes research, and health services research.

Request Review

Researchers who are interested in pre-review of an NIH grant proposal through the mock study section should complete the online Letter of Intent Form by the program cycle deadline. The LOI deadline for the fall 2022 mock study session is Monday, September 26. Frontiers Central will review LOI submissions to confirm eligibility and applicability of the mock study section review process. Accepted applicants will receive a link to submit their completed draft proposal as a single PDF by 5:00 PM CT on Monday, October 24, 2022.

mock study timeline showing  significant dates from September through Februrary for fall cycle 2022

Mock Study Section  Timeline, Fall Cycle 2022

  • September:  Applicant Letter of Intent due 9/26
  • October:  Complete Draft Proposal due 10/24
  • November:  Study Section Meeting, 11/29
  • December:  Study Section Feedback Returned
  • February:  Spring NIH Standard Deadlines

Applicant Responsibilities

A completed draft of each applicants NIH proposal must be submitted by the program cycle deadline, approximately one month before the mock study section meeting. Early submission allows time for careful review by members of the Study Section. Accepted applicants will receive a link to submit their completed draft proposal by 5:00 PM CT on the due date. Applicants are advised to submit the LOI early and then focus on developing their application. The Frontiers Mock Study Section is most beneficial when applications are complete and compliant with NIH grant submission guidelines. Required proposal documents vary by NIH funding mechanism but are limited to those key parts that are needed for an effective review. Visit the links below to download a list of required documents by grant type. Currently R and K series grants are eligible for review through the mock study section.

Reviewer Selection

Applicants are asked to recommend qualified reviewers during the LOI process. Additional reviewers will be invited using data captured in the Frontiers Reviewer Expertise Survey. Any researcher with the appropriate expertise may opt into the pool of potential reviewers. Final selection of reviewers for a specific mock study section event is determined by the content of proposals submitted by applicants. Reviewers will be chosen for (1) their content area expertise and its relevance to the applications under review, and (2) their experience reviewing the specific NIH grant types submitted by applicants.

Submitted applications will be available to reviewers on a dedicated, secure SharePoint site. Reviewers will be asked to submit preliminary scores and written critiques at least one week before the study section meeting using an online platform.

Feedback and Evaluation

Applicants and observers are invited to attend the in-person study section meeting, which simulates an actual NIH study section. Applications will be discussed and final scores assigned during the meeting. Following the meeting, co-chairs of the study section prepare a final summary statement. The summary statement, scores and written feedback are returned to applicants approximately 1-2 weeks after the mock study session meeting, at least 6 weeks before the NIH deadline.

Program Benefits

The mock study section mirrors the NIH review process. Three faculty reviewers provide initial scores prior to the discussion. At the mock study section, co-chairs facilitate the panel review. Three faculty reviewers discuss feedback on individual grant applications, and final scores are given after the discussion is complete. The study section uses NIH scoring criteria and procedures. The entire review panel scores each application. Comments are compiled into a Summary Statement and released to applicants 1-2 weeks following the mock study section.

The mock study section provides grant-writers with a better understanding of NIH review procedures and timely feedback on in-progress proposals to improve the quality of grant submissions.

Observers are invited to attend the Mock Study Section to better understand the NIH review process and the criteria used to evaluate applications.

Program Process

Applicant Registers and Submits Materials:

  • Applicant submits an online Letter of Intent and Specific Aims page by 5:00 PM CT on the deadline date.
  • Frontiers central recruits qualified reviewers
  • If accepted, applicant submits full grant application through invitation link by 5:00 PM CT on the cycle deadline date
  • Grants are distributed by administration for review through SharePoint

Mock Study Section Review:

  • Grant is initially scored and reviewed by three study section members
  • Entire panel discusses the proposal
  • Co-chair summarizes the discussion and reviewers revisit scores
  • Entire panel completes score sheet
  • Observers/applicant can attend to learn the process and hear grant discussion

Summary Statement - Feedback:

  • Administration compiles written critiques
  • Co-chair provides written summary of the discussion
  • Feedback returned to applicant 1-2 weeks after mock study section


For questions about the program, please contact Whitney Onasch, Frontiers Scientific/Grant Writer,

Last modified: Jul 08, 2022