DEB Numbers: FY 2016 Wrap-Up

DEB Numbers: FY 2016 Wrap-Up

Fiscal year 2016 officially closed out on September 30. Now that we are past our panels in October and early November, we have a chance to look back and report on the DEB Core Program merit review and funding outcomes for FY 2016.

This post follows the format we’ve used in previous years. For a refresher, and lengthier discussions of the hows and whys of the metrics, you can visit the 2015,  2014, and 2013 numbers.

Read on to see how 2016 compares. Continue reading

Panel Summaries: Panelist Guidance and PI Expectations

We’ve previously posted about what we are looking for in strong individual reviews of proposals. After receiving individual reviews, most proposals handled by DEB are brought to a panel meeting. After discussing a proposal, the panel prepares a document called the Panel Summary. In this post, we describe Panel Summaries, our goals in what we want them to communicate, and the steps DEB has recently taken to improve them.

What are Panel Summaries? (short version)

Continue reading

Are small grants doing well in review?

In contrast to the trend of decreasing numbers of preliminary proposals, we have seen a rapid increase in the category of Small Grant preliminary proposals (these are also included in the total counts in our previous post). 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

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

Reviewer Service in DEB, Part 2: Missed Connections

In the prior post we described the roles of panelists and ad hoc reviewers in the DEB merit review process and how others have highlighted the value of taking part in this process. We left off with an observation that has popped up in several comment threads on those other discussions: “I volunteered but no one ever called.” This post addresses why that happens. Continue reading

Review Service in DEB, Part 1: Panelist vs Ad hoc Reviewer

It’s been said before elsewhere that serving on an NSF panel is an eye-opening experience, not just because you gain perspective on the work that goes into a panel but that as a reviewer you can learn so much about grant-writing which you can apply to your own pursuit of funding. But panels aren’t the only review opportunity in DEB. Continue reading