Become a Peer Reviewer

Increase your chances of submitting a successful grant application: consider becoming a federal grant reviewer. 

Participating as a Peer Reviewer for external funding agencies is excellent experience to grow and sustain your funded research profile. You will make contacts in your field and learn to identify what to do and what not to do on a grant application. Many federal agencies rely heavily on volunteers from the academic community to provide expertise and impartiality to their review process.

Excerpts about the process for becoming a peer reviewer for some federal agencies are provided below. If you are interested in reviewing for a program or sponsor that is not listed, please reach out to Grants Resources & Services (grs@appstate.edu/x8123) for further assistance. 

 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

Reviewers will participate remotely and will not be required to attend any in-person meetings. Participants will review and score 10-20 applications within a 2-week period. Reviewers are also required to participate in an Orientation Call before beginning their review. The purpose of the Orientation Call is to define the role and responsibilities of the peer reviewers as well as the background and purpose of the grant program being peer reviewed. Reviewers are paid $125 for each application reviewed.

If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer, please submit an up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae, including a valid e-mail address, to: Byrne.Discretionary@usdoj.gov. Please put "Peer Reviewer Candidate Resume" in the subject line.

 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Program (OJP), DOJ

To access this information on their website, click the arrow to the right of "www.ojp.usdoj.gov" that is located underneath Office of Justice Programs.

OJP actively seeks qualified individuals to join the pool of subject matter experts it calls upon to review the strengths and weaknesses of applications for grant funding. Whether you are selected to review applications for a particular solicitation is based on factors such as subject matter expertise, demographics (such as your position title and geographic location), and prior experience as a reviewer. Generally, reviewers have 2-4 weeks to review and evaluate 10–30 applications and participate in a consensus call, webinar, or in-person peer review that lasts from 1-2 days. Reviews are conducted primarily in late winter and spring. Compensation for non-federal reviewers is nominal, $125 per application.

 Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

Reviewers include practitioners, educators, administrators/managers, analysts, researchers, funders, entrepreneurs, evaluators, and board members. Their expertise should include at least 5 years in one of the relevant areas such as national service, volunteer management, education, literacy and tutoring, human services, nonprofit management, grant making, philanthropy, program evaluation, public health and health services, disaster preparedness and response, and the environment and clean energy. In line with the agency’s Strategic Plan and in order to address the needs of several specialized programs, CNCS is particularly looking for individuals with backgrounds in the agency Focus Areas: Education, Environmental Stewardship, Economic Opportunity, Disaster Services, and Veterans and Military Families.

Reviewers should be comfortable reading a large volume of material in a defined period of time and be capable of providing in-depth individual analysis, and/or participating in small group discussions about the applications. Panel Coordinators should have substantial skills managing individual and group activities and experience facilitating small groups. Panel Coordinators also need to be comfortable reading a large volume of material in a short period.

Reviewers and Panel Coordinators are selected for competitions based on education and experience specific to a review. Once you have completed an application in eGrants, and your background is appropriate for a competition, a CNCS representative contacts you by e-mail to check on your availability to participate in that review. We often have more peer review applicants than we may need for a year, but we will maintain your application in our database for future reviews.

 Department of Labor (DOL)

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) seeks a diverse pool of expertise from the workforce system, institutions of higher education, community and faith-based organizations, labor, business and industry partners, and other related organizations to review and score applications along with federal staff. The resumes are kept on file for future ETA competitions unless otherwise directed by applicants. 

If selected, nonfederal panelists will be compensated for their service. Panelists will not be required to travel to Washington, DC, but will be required to read and evaluate grants independently and subsequently participate in conference calls with other panelists to discuss the grants. Selected panelists must make a commitment to be available for the preparation work leading up to the paneling, which could last as long as two weeks. The estimated workload for selected panelists in reviewing and evaluating grants is between 10 and 15 applications.

 Department of Transportation

Expert peer panel volunteers are critical to the success of the TMIP Peer Review Program. Serving on a TMIP peer review expert panel provides practitioners with a unique opportunity to shape the advancement of modeling practices and participate in a valuable peer networking and knowledge sharing experience. If you have an interest in volunteering to serve on an expert peer panel contact the TMIP Moderator for more details.

 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Peer Review Division (PRD) finds qualified reviewers through a variety of sources, including the NCER database, known as Peer Reviewer Information System (PRIS). This is an internal database used only by EPA and is not open to the public.

Technical experts may nominate themselves for inclusion in PRIS by sending an e-mail request including a brief CV to Benjamin Packard (packard.benjamin@epa.gov) of EPA. If you are selected to be a reviewer, you will be required to immediately obtain a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number and register in System for Award Management (SAM).

 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

All professionals working in or knowledgeable about Health Care Services are invited to register in the Reviewer Recruitment Module database (RRM).  

HRSA wishes to identify more qualified reviewers who have expertise in social, cultural or health care issues of rural, migrant or Native American populations. Register in the RRM if you are interested in lending your expertise in any of these fields to our application review process.

HRSA uses an on-line grant review process called ARM, available 24/7 during the evaluation cycle to accommodate reviewer flexibility.

Each eligible application is read by at least 3 reviewers who then discuss their evaluation and initial scores with other reviewers on their panel. This process is completed for each application using the internet and telephone, a process that most often takes 3 days or less.   

Each non-federal participant in the entire process receives an honorarium. 

 Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS)

All proposals submitted for IMLS competitive awards are reviewed by library and museum professionals who know the needs of communities, can share promising practices, and are well versed in the issues and concerns of museums and libraries today. Peer reviewers dedicate their time and expertise to advance the highest professional practices in the field. The IMLS review process is well respected, and the success of our grant programs is largely due to the expertise of our reviewers.

 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) invites researchers and practitioners with expertise related to juvenile justice to apply to serve as peer reviewers for its competitive grant applications. Applicants should indicate their juvenile justice-related knowledge and experience, including: gangs, mentoring, girls' delinquency, children's exposure to violence, substance abuse, tribal juvenile justice, Internet crimes against children, and more. 

To apply, e-mail a current résumé or curriculum vitae to OJPPeerReview@lmbps.com. Write "Peer Reviewer Candidate" in the subject line. OJJDP will compensate peer reviewers for their time and effort.

 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

"We seek to make our review process as transparent as possible, while protecting the confidentiality of applicants, panelists, staff, and Council members. Our advisory panel meetings are announced in the Federal Register and panelists’ names are listed on our website once grants are announced. The public may not, however, attend panel meetings or Council sessions in which confidential application information is discussed...

We're always looking for individuals with experience and/or expertise in one or more of the arts to serve as panelists. If you're interested in becoming a NEA panelist, send an email to panelistforms@arts.gov"

 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

"We’re always looking for scholars and experts in their field to serve as peer reviewers. If you’re interested in serving on an application review panel, please add your name to the PRISM database."

 National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Individuals who possess expertise in areas supported by the NIH and who wish to volunteer to serve in the NIH peer review process should send an email to the Enhancing Peer Review mailbox (ReviewerVolunteer@mail.nih.gov) with a brief description of their areas of expertise in the body of the email (1-2 sentences) and a copy of their biosketch as an attachment.

Principal Investigators (PIs) who receive research grant support from the NIH are an enriched source of such highly-qualified individuals. Therefore, the NIH calls upon investigators who have received research grant funding from the NIH to serve on NIH study sections and advisory groups when invited to do so. However, this expectation for service is entirely voluntary and an inability to serve has no impact on an investigator’s ability to compete for grant support.

 National Science Foundation (NSF)

"To implement peer review, NSF depends upon the reviewer community for nearly 240,000 reviews per year. We try to limit the number of requests made to any single individual, recognizing the many demands our reviewers have on their time. Therefore, NSF strives to increase both the size and diversity of the pool of reviewers to ensure that the NSF merit review process benefits by receiving broad input from a variety of different perspectives. You can help by volunteering to review proposals in your area of expertise."

 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

If you have specific, documented experience in areas related to the current Requests for Applications (RFAs), it will greatly increase the likelihood that SAMHSA may select you as a peer reviewer. Complete an online application form which will be reviewed. Time commitments vary, depending on the grants under review and the number assigned. Note that any time commitment will require a concentrated focus over a short period of time, usually about two weeks.

Reviewers will receive taxable compensation for their services.

 

For an interesting read on becoming a Peer Reviewer, check out this article from the Chronicle


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