peer review

NSF Issues New Framework for Identifying Broader Impacts; NSB Seeks Additional Guidance

On March 18, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) released a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 21-059) offering guidance to proposal writers for shaping their broader impacts arguments. The notice makes no changes to NSF’s existing merit review criteria, which currently considers a project’s intellectual merit and broader impacts potential. Rather, it offers a framework for SBE researchers to consider “to develop and communicate their projects’ broader impacts more effectively” and “for connecting fundamental research outcomes to quality of life improvements for others.” The framework includes three guiding questions for principal investigators to consider: Who…

National Institute of Justice Seeking Peer Reviewers

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice, is seeking to expand its pool of peer reviewers. NIJ’s grant making process relies on scientists and criminal justice practitioners to provide expertise and feedback on the scientific rigor and merit of applications. NIJ is specifically seeking research and technical experts in the following areas: human trafficking, firearms violence, mass shootings, school safety, terrorism, gangs, persistently violent communities, and hate crime. More information about becoming a peer reviewer can be found on the NIJ website. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Rand Paul Introduces Bill to “Reform” Federal Research Grant System

On October 18, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Chair of the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hosted a hearing entitled “Broken Beakers: Federal Support for Research.” Following the hearing Sen. Paul introduced the BASIC Research Act (S. 1973) to “reform” the federal research grant system. The bill would alter how grant proposals at all federal research funding agencies are reviewed by adding non-expert members of the public to review panels and requiring all applications for federal research grants to be made public. The bill also proposes the elimination of the Inspector…

Coalition to Promote Research Launches Petition Drive: “Advancing Principles of Scientific Stewardship”

On June 12, the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR), which is co-led by COSSA and the American Psychological Association (a COSSA member), launched a petition drive, Advancing Principles of Scientific Stewardship. The effort is designed to make evident the support of the general public as well as the scientific community for America’s premier federal research enterprise, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The organizers hope to showcase the enormous unseen support for the peer/merit review process. The CPR petition highlights the general public’s and scientific community’s recognition that “Effective policy planning and appropriate, stable…

Video Shares Insights into NIH Grant Application and Peer Review Process

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review (CSR) recently posted a video compiling insights from individuals who have participated in the NIH’s peer review process, including peer reviewers, study section chairs, and NIH staff. The video is designed to guide applicants in planning and writing a competitive grant application, including writing the summary and specific aims sections of the application; explaining why the research is essential; and the importance of explaining proposed techniques, among other suggestions. The video is part of CSR’s Insider’s Guide to Peer Review for Applicants. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

CPR Briefing Highlights NIH Peer Review Process

The COSSA-led Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) recently organized its second congressional briefing of 2015 (see Update, March 24, 2015) designed to provide an overview of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) peer review process for congressional staff. The briefing, NIH Priority Setting: How Peer Review Assists the NIH in Selecting the Best Science, highlighted the process used by the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR) with the help of scientific experts from around the country.  Briefing speakers included CSR director Richard Nakamura and Danielle Li of Harvard University.  Felice Levine, executive director of the American Educational Research Association (AERA),…

COSSA/CPR Sponsor “NIH 101” Congressional Briefing

On February 27, the COSSA-led Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) organized a Congressional briefing designed to provide an overview of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer review process and the types of grants funded by the agency. The briefing’s speaker, Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor for research and executive vice dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is a leading molecular biologist and has served on the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review’s advisory committee, as well as other NIH advisory panels and peer review committees. Using contemporary biology, Yamamoto discussed the NIH priority-setting process…

Scientific Community Expresses Support for NIH and Its Peer Review Process

On December 2, the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) sent letters to Congress expressing its “continued and strong support for the competitive peer review process used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).” The letter, signed by 128 diverse organizations, noted that the scientific community is “extremely concerned about the recent criticism of the NIH’s funding decisions and the accompanying mischaracterization of NIH-supported research in the media and by some in Congress. The ongoing targeting of specific grants produces a chilling effect across the entire scientific community. These attacks inhibit the very scientific progress the critics claim to support. Our…

NIH Center for Scientific Review to Host Peer Review Webinars for New Grant Applicants

In early November, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review (CSR) plans to host four Meet the Experts in NIH Peer Review webinars designed to provide new NIH grant applicants and other interested individuals with valuable insights into the submission and review processes. CSR is NIH’s gateway for grant applications and their review for scientific merit. It organizes the peer review groups, or study sections, that evaluate the majority of the research grant applications sent to the agency. The webinars will address the various types of grant mechanisms supported by NIH: Academic Research Enhancement Awards (R15), Fellowship…

PCORI Seeks Public Comment on Draft Peer Review and Public Release Proposal

On September 15, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) Board of Governors approved the release of the Institute’s draft plan for peer review and public release of its research, Getting the Word Out: PCORI’s Proposal for Peer Review of Primary Research and Public Release of Research Findings. The Institute is seeking comments from the public on the proposal, which may be submitted on its website through November 7, 2014. PCORI will also hold a public forum to discuss the proposal on Monday, September 29 (the event will also be available as a webinar). PCORI’s authorizing legislation mandates that the Institute…

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