GOOD To Become a^Grant Writer–Become a Grant Reviewer Kermit R. McMurry, Ph.D. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
What Is a Grant Reviewer? • A grant reviewer is one who is selected to objectively evaluate the quality of a competitive grant application.
What Do Grant Reviewers Do? • Grant reviewers (for the federal government) use their expertise and knowledge about a specific subject matter in such a way as to be able to assess grant applications according to established evaluation criteria.
How Is It Done? • Most, if not all government agencies have peer review panels (usually 3) comprised of outside experts who are given the review criteria and review instructions. (Rules of Engagement)
Why become a grant reviewer? • Reviewing grant applications will help the reviewer to gain experience in preparing quality grant applications. • It provides the grant reviewer with an overview of the grant award process. • It provides an opportunity to network with your professional peers and federal officials. • The process increases a reviewer’s arsenal of the knowledge/skills required to write a top-notch grant proposal.
What does a grant reviewer have to do? • Have the time and desire • Have access to the Internet and a printer • Have the ability to interact with a web-based environment • Read review orientation materials and have the ability and time to participate in a reviewer orientation session
What does a grant reviewer have to do?(Continued) • Have time to critically read and score assigned applications (usually ten or more) • Have ability to prepare clear, concise and well-written comments on the strengths and weaknesses of each application (based on grant criteria) • Be prepared to make appropriate revisions on your strengths/weaknesses after a discussion with other peer reviewers • Have a willingness to compromise and see other reasonable points of view
What Are the Typical Proposal Components? • Abstract • Statement of need • Target population to be served • Objectives (What will be accomplished) • Program description/Plan of operation (How objectives will be accomplished) • Key personnel • Institution commitment • Evaluation process (How objectives will be measured) • Budget (How much is it going to cost, and how it is linked to objectives and plan of operation)
Ten Reasons for becoming a Grant Reviewer (The Other Side of the Table) • Helps understand the “rules” of the grant game • Help tailor application to meet the specific requirements of the program announcement • Helps write a grant proposal in a way that is easy to read (grant reviewers don’t want to take time to figure out what an application is trying to convey). • Helps understand what a “winning” writing style reads/looks like.
Helps grant writers understand the value of selecting someone to edit proposals for: • Coherence and clarity • Missing or overlapping information • Inconsistencies • Compelling argument • Helps grant writers understand the value of using headings, charts and graphs • Helps grant writers better understand why it is important to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the format provided in the application instructions (Creating your own format is generally a bad idea.)
Helps avoid fatal flaws and common mistakes in preparing a grant proposal, such as: • Sloppy or confusing presentation • Failure to make a case for the importance of the proposed effort • Lack of clarity • Objectives, need, and plan of operation do not link together • Evaluation strategy is not linked to measuring success of objectives • Helps writer assess what relevant and current information is required to establish need. • Helps writer UNDERSTAND the value of following instructions.
Next Steps – Go to: • http://www.drg.nih.gov/Video/Video.asp- Video of the review process for NIH • http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/meritreview/#reviewer– Why you should volunteer to be an NSF Peer Reviewer • http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/frs.html - Office of Post Secondary Education, US Department of Education Registration for Reviewers • http://nationalservice.gov/egrants/peer_review.asp - Be a peer reviewer for the Corporation for National and Community Service (VISTA, AmeriCorp, SeniorCorp)