DEB Numbers: Per-Person Success Rate in DEB


Our friends at Dynamic Ecology posted a little while back about the NSF-wide trends in per-person success rate based on this 2014 report to the National Science Board that provided merit review process statistics across the whole agency[i]. There were several questions in the comments to that post regarding the context for the numbers and how they would look for DEB or IOS, especially since preliminary proposals were explicitly excluded from the calculations in the report to the NSB[ii].

So, we’ve put something together with DEB data to follow-up on that discussion. Our analysis sticks to the general approach of the NSF-wide report with modifications to allow inclusion of preliminary proposal data. Continue reading

Guest Post: A Shifting Landscape for International Biology-related Research


Editor’s note: Today we’re bringing you a guest post on issues related to international biology research written for us by Elizabeth (Libby) Lyons, Regional Program Coordinator: Africa, Near East and South Asia (ANESA) in the NSF International Science and Engineering (ISE) office. Libby is also a former DEB Program Officer. We’d like to thank Libby for taking the time to discuss this topic with us and her willingness to share her expertise and experience here on DEBrief. The content is important and applicable beyond DEB so we hope you’ll take the time to share it with your colleagues.

Continue reading

DEB Numbers: FY2014 Wrap-Up


At the end of 2013, we presented DEB submission and award portfolio data examining the initial results of the preliminary proposal process, leading to DEB’s FY2013 awards. In this post, we provide a follow-up for the second round of awards funded under the preliminary proposal system in FY2014. Continue reading

How to win over panels and influence program officers: advice for effective written reviews.


For a while now we’ve been pondering how to approach a delicate subject: writing reviews. This subject is something of a minefield of tensions, conflicts, opinions, and opportunities to offend, alienate, and otherwise ruffle feathers by implying, “you’re doing it wrong.” So we feel it is important to explain here why we are tackling this topic and mention some of the approaches that didn’t fly.

We receive requests from less experienced reviewers who want advice outside the trial-by-fire of an actual panel to hone their review-writing skills. And we also hear from PIs who are disappointed in the utility or quality of the reviews they have received. Continue reading