OSERS: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
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What to Expect When You "Donate Your
Brain to Science" at NIDRR and Become a Peer Reviewer?

Key Questions and Answers


How to Become a Grant Reviewer for Any Federal Agency?

For a good general overview on what to expect when you become a grant reviewer for almost any federal agency, check out this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education

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Why do We Use a Peer Review Process?

NIDRR uses a peer review process to evaluate the quality of the disability and rehabilitation research proposals it receives. It is required to do so by federal regulation. NIDRR is constantly expanding and maintaining its pool of potential reviewers, so that all of our applicants continue to have their proposals reviewed by the best available experts in the field.

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How is the Peer Review Process Conducted?

NIDRR peer review panels are conducted via teleconference. These peer review panels are typically comprised of 5-7 individuals who have the required skills, training or expertise to evaluate the content of applications submitted under specific priorities. Using competition-specific evaluation criteria provided by NIDRR, peer reviewers score and comment upon applications through a web-based scoring system. These panels typically meet for 3 days, to discuss the submitted applications.

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When do We Conduct the Peer Review Process?

NIDRR assembles peer review panels based on the expertise that it needs for specific competitions that take place at different times throughout the fiscal year. If your skills, training, or expertise corresponds to the topical area of the grant competition we are running, we would contact you about 8 weeks before the panel is scheduled to meet. Through this initial contact, we would determine your interest and availability to serve on the panel.

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What Happens If You are Chosen to Participate
in the Peer Process

If we choose you to serve on the panel, we will mail you a number of applications to review. We aim to give every peer review panel 3 or 4 weeks to review applications, before the panel discussion teleconference starts. Shortly after you receive the applications, NIDRR staff will host a peer-reviewer orientation session to describe the specific tasks that make up the peer review process.

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What Do I have to do If I Want to Become a
Peer Reviewer for NIDRR

To become part of NIDRR's ever-expanding pool of potential peer-review candidates, please submit a request and a current resume to

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Last Modified: 05/31/2012