Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Panel call

I've been trying to get invited for a review panel at NSF for some time now. The biggest problem has been that the proposals I have been submitting tend to land in a broad set of programs, often making me ineligible to serve on the panels related to my proposals. To make matters worse, my proposals often get co-reviewed between two different panels, doubling the number of panels I can not sit on. This actually scuttled my participation last round.

This round is different, however, because the two collaborative proposals I was intending to submit did not end up going in for a few reasons, meaning only one proposal went in to NSF this round. Before I read that again and start to feel sick, there is a silver lining.

I've been invited to serve on a review panel in this round for a program that I intend to submit a proposal to in January. Although I know it's going to be a decent amount of work and I'll have to juggle it with teaching, I couldn't be more excited. I've met the program officer in charge of the program and think the whole experience will be really positive for me. I'm hoping to also find an excuse to talk to the POs of the other programs I regularly submit to while I'm in DC.

Who knows whether meeting the people in charge will help, but it certainly can't hurt. And the opportunity to see the review proses from the inside has me pretty pumped. Whatever insight I can get from the visit will certainly help me craft the January proposal.

5 comments:

  1. Cool! You will learn a lot about the process and how not to write a proposal. It is a lot of work, but it's in a fairly concentrated block of time so it's not too bad. Do contact the PO's you want to talk to in advance to arrange meetings - there likely will be numerous panels going on simultaneously and the PO's may be tied up with those.

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  2. I did one last Jan, and it was good exposure all around. Also, you get some $$ for the service, which I did not realize until after the process was over...

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  3. I was looking int trying to serve on NSF panels, but seeing as I'm neither Faculty nor a researcher it seems my options are limited...

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  4. Your field/NSF panels must be really different than mine. Panelists must commit to sit on panels 2X year for 2 years. That's a boatload of work, and my program officer refuses to ask untenured faculty members to participate in the panel for that reason. Also, usually panelists have already been successful at acquiring NSF funding before being asked to review proposals. While there is a cool "training" process involved in being on a panel, it's usually thought that one should be a more established researcher before this happens. Just different! I also agree that when conducting interdisciplinary work, these categories get fuzzy.

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  5. Ah, to be young again. I remember that excitement before my first NSF panel. I wasn't even put off by the 10 fifty-page proposals and the 2% or so of my work year the whole process represented.

    You're right that it's worthwhile to see how the sausages are made. But rather frustrating. Almost everyone I know is completely jaded by the process of grant, tenure, conference and journal reviewing.

    I'm very curious what your response will be after the fact if you're willing to share.

    If you do a good job of this kind of thing, you'll get asked again. And again. Especially if you're interdisciplinary and both disciplines take you seriously.

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