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ERIC Number: EJ1155558
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1539-1590
How Do I Review Thee? Let Me Count the Ways: A Comparison of Research Grant Proposal Review Criteria across US Federal Funding Agencies
Falk-Krzesinski, Holly J.; Tobin, Stacey C.
Journal of Research Administration, v46 n2 p79-94 Fall 2015
While Elizabeth Barrett Browning counted 25 ways in which she loves her husband in her poem, "How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways," we identified only eight ways to evaluate the potential for success of a federal research grant proposal. This may be surprising, as it seems upon initial glance of the review criteria used by various federal funding agencies that each has its own distinct set of "rules" regarding the review of grant proposals for research and scholarship. Much of the grantsmanship process is dependent upon the review criteria, which represent the funders' desired impact of the research. But since most funders that offer research grants share the overarching goals of supporting research that (1) fits within its mission and (2) will bring a strong return on its financial investment, the review criteria used to evaluate research grant proposals are based on a similar set of fundamental questions. In this article, we compare the review criteria of 10 US federal agencies that support research through grant programs, and demonstrate that there are actually only a small and finite number of ways that a grant proposal can be evaluated. Though each funding agency may use slightly different wording, we found that the majority of the agencies' criteria address eight key questions. Within the highly competitive landscape of research grant funding, new researchers must find support for their research agendas and established investigators and research development offices must consider ways to diversify their funding portfolios, yet all may be discouraged by the apparent myriad of differences in review criteria used by various funding agencies. Guided by research administrators and research development professionals, recognizing that grant proposal review criteria are similar across funding agencies may help lower the barrier to applying for federal funding for new and early career researchers, or facilitate funding portfolio diversification for experienced researchers. Grantmakers are furthermore provided valuable guidance to develop and refine their own proposal review criteria.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A