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Serve as a proposal reviewer
By Carol Lunn (on 6/10/2016 @ 11:37:20, in Professional Development, read 1286 times)
Who - can serve as a reviewer?

Funders generally seek reviewers with experience or expertise in the areas that they will be reviewing. Generally, you do not have to be a successful grantee in order to serve as a grant reviewer. Junior faculty members are often welcome to serve as proposal reviewers and it can assist in your own grant writing. In some instances non-Ph.D. professionals may be able to serve as reviewers.

What – is involved?

The review process can vary among sponsors. You may be tasked evaluate proposals independently and then submit them to the sponsor. Other sponsors will have you perform the initial review independently and then convene as a review panel for a joint discussion. Formats for reviewing proposals vary widely and may or may not involve travel. If you are required to travel the sponsor will usually cover travel expenses and many sponsors will provide a small stipend for review work.

When - will the review process take place?

Sponsors will need reviewers to serve after the deadline for submitting proposals has passed. This will vary depending on the sponsor and their proposal deadlines.

Where - will the review panel meet?

You should understand the time and travel commitments prior to agreeing to serve as a reviewer. The review process often requires a lot of time in a short period of time. For instance, a panel session may be conducted in three 8-hour days or two 10-hour days plus travel time.

Why - should I serve as a reviewer?

One of the best ways that you improve your own grantsmanship skills is to read and evaluate proposals that others have written. As a reviewer you can read a variety of proposals written for the same funding program which is excellent training for what makes a successful grant and what does not. Serving on a review panel also provides insight into how the other reviewers evaluated the same proposals. The review process will give you firsthand knowledge about the funder and the priorities of its grant program. Understanding the review process gives you a competitive advantage when you later apply for a grant from the funder because you have a deeper understanding of the review process.

Serving as a reviewer allows you to keep abreast of current topics in your field and also allows you to network with other experts in your field.

How - can I become a reviewer?

Numerous federal and state sponsors are seeking reviewers and even have websites that facilitate volunteering. Choose a sponsor that fits your area interest or expertise and check the sponsors’ website for instructions on how to become a reviewer. In many instances you will email the contact for the funding program you are interested in and provide them with your area of expertise and contact information. You may have to submit your CV or complete a questionnaire. The sponsor will contact you to serve when they have a review opportunity that matches your expertise and interest. If the reviewer process is not clearly outlined on the sponsor website then you can contact the grant manager or program officer and let them know you are interested in serving as a reviewer.