Appropriate technical and scientific peer review shall be conducted with respect to each application for a grant, cooperative agreement, or contract under this subchapter.
The Director may not approve an application described in subsection (a)(1) unless the application is recommended for approval by a peer review group established under subsection (c).
The Director shall establish such technical and scientific peer review groups as may be necessary to carry out this section. Such groups shall be established without regard to the provisions of title 5 that govern appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51, and subchapter III of chapter 53, of such title that relate to classification and pay rates under the General Schedule.
The members of any peer review group established under this section shall be appointed from among individuals who by virtue of their training or experience are eminently qualified to carry out the duties of such peer review group. Officers and employees of the United States may not constitute more than 25 percent of the membership of any such group. Such officers and employees may not receive compensation for service on such groups in addition to the compensation otherwise received for these duties carried out as such officers and employees.
Notwithstanding section 1013(a) of title 5, peer review groups established under this section may continue in existence until otherwise provided by law.
In the case of applications for financial assistance whose direct costs will not exceed $100,000, the Director may make appropriate adjustments in the procedures otherwise established by the Director for the conduct of peer review under this section. Such adjustments may be made for the purpose of encouraging the entry of individuals into the field of research, for the purpose of encouraging clinical practice-oriented or provider-based research, and for such other purposes as the Director may determine to be appropriate.
The Director shall issue regulations for the conduct of peer review under this section.