Roles of the Reviewers
The University Research & Development (R&D) Committee and the University Research and Projects Advisory Board (RPAB) members are elected to review applications to Graduate School internal grant programs and to make recommendations for funding to the Graduate Dean. In the case of the R&D Committee, the Committee leads the review of applications in specific disciplinary subpanels and can make recommendations to change proposal budgets (STEP, Research Equipment &Tools, Assigned Research Time, and Multidisciplinary Research Awards). The RPAB reviews proposals to the Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Grant, the Hoppe Research Professor Award, the Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award, and the Research Grants for Graduate Students (RGGS). Ad hoc reviewers are also recruited for STEP and other internal programs that review according to disciplinary affiliation or require specific expertise.
While it is the reviewers’ role to evaluate proposals on the basis of stated program goals and guidelines, it is the applicants’ role to make strong and clear arguments that their project fits these goals and guidelines. Reviewers should gain answers to any of the review criteria and question about the project from the proposal only; that is, the proposal should be considered “the world of the project.” Knowledge outside the text of the proposal should not be considered in its review.*
Applicants will receive a copy of the individual reviewers’ scores and comments as well as a summary of the panel discussion. Consequently, reviewers need to consider that their scores and comments are the main source of feedback for applicants. Reviewers need to be careful to write constructive comments. Scores need to be directly linked to the comments, and comments need to justify the reviewers’ overall recommendations in a way that is transparent to fellow reviewers and applicants.
Panel Summary (for programs under the R&D Committee): Subpanelists are responsible for assisting in the production of one-page review summaries for each applicant. These summaries will serve as a cover page for the returned reviews and provide a short summary of the panel discussion. As in the guidelines above, comments must match the scores and provide justification for the final recommendation. Summaries focus on the main topics of discussion and the main reasons for the final panel decision. Any minor issues need to be indicated as such.
*In extreme cases in which an individual reviewer has outside knowledge that he/she feels should be considered in the review of the proposal, the reviewer should contact the Graduate School to discuss the matter before bringing it to other reviewers.
Reviewers are expected to maintain confidentiality about the review process and the content of discussions during review. Only the names of elected R&D Committee or the RPAB members are available to the general campus community. All other reviewer names are kept confidential to protect the integrity of the process. Please do not share the contents of review discussions with anyone outside your committee. This may lead to an undermining of the process.
Conflict of Interest
If any reviewer feels a conflict of interest reviewing one or more proposals, that person should inform the Graduate School as soon as possible. One should disclose such relationships as having worked with someone on a project in the (relatively near) past, but this may not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest. We will work with you to manage these issues. However, if you personally feel a conflict and cannot objectively review a proposal, please contact the Graduate School.
Guiding Questions for the Review