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About NIH Advisory Committees

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the National Institutes of Health, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy (OFACP). If this site does not answer your questions or concerns, please contact us at

NIH recognizes the important role advisory committees play in developing effective policies and guidance on many issues. We maintain approximately 150 chartered advisory committees, one of the largest number of Federal advisory committees in any Executive Branch agency. These committees are authorized by the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 U.S.C. 284a) and governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. §§ 1000-1014). The PHS Act authorizes appropriate scientific and technical peer review of biomedical and behavioral research grant and cooperative agreement applications, research and development contracts, and research conducted at NIH through advisory committees.

NIH utilizes four types of advisory committees:

National Advisory Councils or Boards (NACs) perform the second level of peer review for research grant applications and offer advice and recommendations on policy and program development, program implementation, evaluation, and other matters of significance to the mission and goals of the respective Institutes or Centers, as well as providing recommendations on research conducted by each Institute's or Center's intramural program.

Program Advisory Committees (PACs) provide advice on specific research programs, future research needs and opportunities, and identify and evaluate extramural initiatives.

Boards of Scientific Counselors (BSCs) provide review and evaluate the research programs, projects, and investigators in the intramural laboratories and programs of NIH.

SRGs (Initial/Integrated Review Groups & Special Emphasis Panels)

      Initial/Integrated Review Groups (IRGs) perform the first level of scientific and technical peer review of         grant applications, cooperative agreements, and contract proposals.

      Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs) review grant and cooperative agreement applications and                                    contract proposals for research projects, and training activities.     

The President of the United States appoints members to two committees (President's Cancer Panel and National Cancer Advisory Board). The Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), appoints members to NIH national advisory councils and a number of program advisory committees. The Director and Deputy Director, NIH, or Associate Deputy Director, NIH appoints members to most of the other advisory committees. In a few cases, Institute or Center Directors are authorized to appoint members.

For additional information on Federal advisory committees at the NIH, we welcome you to browse our website.