Receipt and Referral Process

Overview of Application Receipt and Referral

AHRQ grant applications are submitted to the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Unless otherwise specified in the grant solicitation, CSR serves as a central receipt point for all AHRQ grant applications and conducts initial administrative review of these applications. Important steps in receipt and referral of grant applications include:

  • CSR receives your application, logs it into a database, and assigns a unique ID number. Applications are given a brief evaluation to determine what area of research each represents.
  • At the time of submission, applicants may include a cover letter requesting assignment of their application to AHRQ. Applicants may also request assignment to a specific AHRQ study section. A description of AHRQ study sections may be found at Study Section Descriptions.
  • CSR generally assigns to AHRQ those applications that specifically request AHRQ for primary review and funding consideration.
  • Unsolicited health services research applications may also be assigned to AHRQ.
  • Applicants will receive notification by mail of the review assignment within six to eight weeks of the review assignment.
  • The AHRQ Referral Officer examines all applications assigned to AHRQ, including those submitted in response to active Program Announcements (PAs), Requests for Applications (RFAs) and unsolicited applications. Applications are examined to determine if they fall broadly within the scope of the AHRQ mission and research priorities. Also, all applications must adhere to DHHS and AHRQ grant requirements and procedures in order to be eligible for scientific review and funding consideration.
  • Next, the AHRQ Referral Officer assigns your application to the most appropriate study section to be assessed for scientific merit. In the case of RFA applications or other special circumstances, your application may be assigned to a special emphasis panel for review.
  • The AHRQ Referral Officer assigns your application to an AHRQ Program Center or Office. In addition, a NIH institute may be assigned as a dual assignment where appropriate.

Contact Information

AHRQ Referral Officer
Kathryn Marron, Ph.D.
(301) 427-1554

Application Mailing Address

Send the application to the following address, making sure to use the correct ZIP Code:

Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Suite 1040
MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD 20892-7710 (United States Postal Service (USPS) Express or Regular mail)


Bethesda, MD 20817 (Express/Courier Non-USPS Service)

The telephone number is (301) 435-0715; TTY (301) 451-0088.

C.O.D. applications will not be accepted.

All applications and other deliveries to the Center for Scientific Review must come either via courier delivery or via the USPS. Applications delivered by individuals to the Center for Scientific Review will not be accepted. For additional information, see

There may be additional instructions for submission of responses to RFAs.

Note: Non-competing continuation applications are to be mailed directly to AHRQ at the following address:

Grants Management Officer
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
OPART Grants Management
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857

Page last reviewed March 2019
Page originally created February 2005
Internet Citation: Receipt and Referral Process. Content last reviewed March 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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