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How does AASLD Foundation choose which applications are funded?

Applications undergo rigorous peer-review modeled after the NIH grant review process and are evaluated a selected group of academic and clinical specialists, physicians, and associate practitioners in the fields of hepatology and transplant hepatology.

Following a preliminary evaluation by 2-3 reviewers, applications deemed meritorious are considered by the full reviewing body and assigned final scores. Funding recommendations are based on scientific merit as demonstrated by final scores; recommendations provided to the Foundation Board of Trustees include only proposed score ranges that should be funded for each category and do not include any identifiable applicant or proposal information.

The AASLD Foundation Board of Trustees approves final funding levels based on score order and available funding for each program.

What is pay line for the program I plan to apply to?

Annual grant spending varies based on available funds and the number of highly meritorious applications received that cycle. As such, the Foundation uses a score-order funding approach rather than established pay lines.

Who exactly reviews my application?

All reviewers are members of AASLD and volunteer their time to the program; they receive no compensation for their participation.

Reviewing Bodies:

Research Awards Committee (Research Awards and Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Fellow Award)

Hepatology Associates Committee (Emerging Liver Advanced Practice Provider Program)

Membership & Mentorship Committee (Emerging Liver Scholars Program)

Scientific Program Committee (Abstract Awards).

In addition to the groups listed above, other AASLD member experts may be asked to participate as ad hoc application reviewers based on application volume or if additional reviewers are needed with expertise in a specific area.  

All review committee discussions are confidential and may not be shared outside of the committee. Committee members should not be contacted regarding reviewed applications under any circumstance.

How does AASLD Foundation mitigate potential conflicts of interest?

Reviewers are recused from the review or discussion of applications with which they have potential conflicts of interest. AASLD Foundation considers the following circumstances as a conflict:

  • Same institution as the applicant and/or mentor;

  • The following within 3 years immediately preceding the application review:

    • Mentoring the applicant for another award

    • Previous professional relationship (e.g. previous trainee, preceptorship) or collaboration with either the mentor or applicant in which a true, substantial relationship exists and/or a real or perceived benefit to the reviewer exists based on review outcome.

The following are NOT considered automatic conflicts. Reviewers are asked to determine if their level of collaboration with the mentor or applicant in these circumstances creates a conflict of interest which would preclude them from unbiased review of an application:

  • Participation in a writing group with the mentor and/or applicant

  • Participation in a consortium with the mentor and/or applicant

  • Non-research collaborations

The Chairs and Vice-Chair of the review committees vet circumstances where the reviewer is unsure of their level of conflict.

Research on the same topic would NOT represent a conflict.

How does AASLD Foundation ensure confidentiality in the application review process?

AASLD Foundation is committed to maintaining the integrity and confidential nature of the peer review process. 

  • Reviewers may not:

    • Share or discuss submitted applications or meeting materials with any person not designated to participate in the review process.

    • Grant any person not designated to participate in the review process access to the AASLD Foundation’s review platform or meetings, including sharing of credentials.

    • Disclose, in any manner, information about deliberations, discussions, or evaluations related to an application to any person not designated to participate in the review process or to anyone who has a conflict of interest with that application.

    • Record or transcribe reviewing committee deliberations, discussions, evaluations, or documents.

    • Use information contained in an application for the direct or indirect personal or financial benefit of any other individual or organization.

    • Contact applicants, mentors, sponsoring institutions, or any other party related to a submitted application about an application.

  • Reviewers must:

    • Immediately report any potential real or perceived conflicts of interest with a submitted application.

    • Destroy, delete, and/or return any reviewer materials to the AASLD Foundation following completion of each peer review cycle.

    • Refer all questions or inquiries from applicants, mentors, sponsoring institutions, or other parties related to an application to Foundation staff.

Will I receive feedback on my proposal?

Following review, research award applicants will receive de-identified reviewer comments to help strengthen their proposals for future submission to AASLD Foundation or other grantmaking organizations.

Reviewer comments are not provided for funding mechanisms that are not research project-based.