MERIT Award Criteria

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The MERIT Award (R37) program provides a means to recognize the most outstanding R01 applications from superior researchers. Program staff and/or members of the National Cancer Advisory Board will identify candidates for the MERIT Award during the course of review of competing research grant applications prepared and submitted in accordance with regular PHS requirements.

To be eligible for MERIT consideration, an application must:

  • represent at least the second competing renewal of a grant;

  • be a competing continuation of a grant for which the PI has had continuous NCI support for at least seven years, and for which no application competed in the last seven years has needed amendment;

  • form the principal source of NIH support for an investigator;

  • have been approved by the study section for five years of support with a priority score in the range of 0.1 and 5.0 percentile.

Applications meeting the above criteria must also demonstrate that:

  • the PI is a leader in the field (e.g., paradigm-shifting ideas; continuous record of publications in the highest quality journals; landmark publications, honors and awards received; excellent productivity; etc.);

  • the field is of high priority and long-term relevance to the mission of the NIH;

  • the PI's research productivity and impact are likely to continue at same level.