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

DEB Numbers: Community Satisfaction Survey Results


You may recall that way back in the first half of 2013 we invited the community by email and also via this blog to participate in a survey to gauge satisfaction with the preliminary proposal process in DEB and IOS.

The full results of the survey have now been published in BioScience. Our thanks to you for responding to our call to participate in great numbers and to the various discussants, readers, and reviewers who helped throughout the process. Continue reading

DEB Spring 2014 Preliminary Proposal Results


Some of you have already heard about your DEB preliminary proposal(s). Invitations for full proposals have been going out first, one cluster at a time, followed by declines, again by cluster. DEB does this to maximize preparation time for the invited PIs and to make sure individuals in the same cluster and outcome grouping receive notice at roughly the same time. These decisions are being announced in line with or ahead of the review calendar discussed here and here.

Each PI will receive a context statement describing the review process and results in the reviewing cluster. Here we provide a compilation of the same context information for all four clusters in DEB. Continue reading

Review Service in DEB, Part 3: Finding you for Review


This is part 3 of a discussion of reviewer service in DEB. In parts 1 and 2 we talked about the roles of panelists and ad hoc reviewers and how contacting us to volunteer as a reviewer doesn’t often work. With that as background we can provide some insight into actual reviewer selection and assignment in DEB. Continue reading