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National Science Foundation HomeNational Science Foundation - Directorate for Engineering (ENG)
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CBET Proposal Review Process


Proposals are typically reviewed by at least three experts.  Panel review is most-common and is sometimes supplemented with mail review.  After carefully examining a proposal, the Program Officer identifies experts and solicits their reviews electronically.  Reviewers' advice is used in the Program Officer's decision to recommend funding or declination of a proposal.  When the process is completed, the Principal Investigators (PIs) receive electronic copies of the reviews from the Program Officer, but the identities of the reviewers are not disclosed.

Suggestions for Reviewers

  • When you receive a review request, please respond as quickly as possible.  If you cannot provide a timely review, if you have a conflict of interest, or if you do not feel qualified to review the proposal, please decline to review over FastLane or by emailing the Program Officer. Even if you are unable to review the proposal, we welcome your suggestions for other qualified reviewers.

  • Reviews are written as advice to the Program Officer and should reflect your professional opinion of the proposal.  The PI will receive an anonymous copy of your review.  Constructive criticisms and suggestions can be especially helpful for strengthening the project.

  • Please consider both the NSF merit review criteria as well as any program-specific review criteria.

  • Program Officers look for creativity, a well-developed strategy for achieving project objectives, and impact.  Please comment on these, as appropriate.

  • If the PI has had prior support from NSF, please comment on the work that has previously been supported using both merit review criteria.

  • If a proposal requests instrumentation, please comment on the appropriateness of the instrumentation.

  • Please comment on the adequacy of resources and expertise available to the project.

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