All the Investigators are strong….and the Environments are above-average.
The “Investigator” and “Environment” criteria have been an explicit part of NIH grant review since forever, and have been given approximately equal weight with Approach, Significance and Innovation.
The blurbs in the official NIH notice on the current scheme read:

Investigator(s). Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?

Environment. Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

I always had the distinct impression these were essentially throwaway criteria because they were almost always rated very highly. Sometimes the “Investigator” criterion would be a place to cap on the more-junior career status or lack of productivity but for the most part it was treated very politely.
Sally Rockey has recently posted the verification of this impression on the OER blog.

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