(a) Evaluation. All applications filed in accordance with § 52.4 shall be evaluated by the Secretary through such officers and employees and such experts or consultants engaged for this purpose as the Secretary determines are specially qualified in the areas of research involved in the project, including review by an appropriate National Advisory Council or other body as may be required by law. The Secretary's evaluation shall take into account among other pertinent factors the scientific merit and significance of the project, the competency of the proposed staff in relation to the type of research involved, the feasibility of the project, the likelihood of its producing meaningful results, the proposed project period, and the adequacy of the applicant's resources available for the project and the amount of grant funds necessary for completion, and in the case of applications for support of research in emergency medical services, special consideration shall be given to applications for grants for research relating to the delivery of emergency medical services in rural areas.
(b) Disposition. On the basis of the Secretary's evaluation of an application in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section and subject to approvals, recommendations or consultations by the appropriate National Advisory Council or other body as may be required by law, the Secretary will (1) approve, (2) defer because of either lack of funds or a need for further evaluation, or (3) disapprove support of the proposed project in whole or in part. With respect to approved projects, the Secretary will determine the project period (subject to extension as provided in § 52.7(c)) during which the project may be supported. Any deferral and disapproval of an application will not preclude its reconsideration or a reapplication.