Review Process

Reviews will be based on scientific merit. Beginning with Fiscal Year 2013, the RAC Application scoring system will use the same 9 point scale as NIH.

Impact Score Descriptor Additional Guidance on Strengths/Weaknesses
High 1 Exceptional Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses
2 Outstanding Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses
3 Excellent Very strong with only some minor weaknesses
Medium 4 Very Good Strong but with numerous minor weaknesses
5 Good Strong but with at least one moderate weakness
6 Satisfactory Some strengths but also some moderate weaknesses
Low 7 Fair Some strengths but with at least one major weakness
8 Marginal A few strengths and a few major weaknesses
9 Poor Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses


Non-numeric score options: 

  • NR = Not recommended for further consideration,
  • DF = Deferred,
  • AB = Abstention,
  • CF = Conflict,
  • NP = Not present,
  • ND = Not discussed


  • Minor: An easily addressable weakness that does not substantially lessen impact
  • Moderate: A weakness that lessens impact 
  • Major: A weakness that severely limits impact

All proposals will receive a priority rating by the RAC members. Ranking will be based on the score, as well as consideration of the stated goals of RAC funding. All scores and rankings will remain confidential; however, all applicants will receive written copies of the reviewers’ comments.