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Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)

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CONTEXT: On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), historic legislation designed to stimulate the economy, support job creation, and invest in critical sectors, including education. The ARRA lays the foundation for education reform by supporting investments in innovative strategies that are most likely to lead to improved results for students, long-term gains in school and school system capacity, and increased productivity and effectiveness. The ARRA provides $650 million for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward local school districts, nonprofits and consortia of schools who are developing fresh ideas, growing promising programs and scaling what works in an effort to dramatically improve our nation’s schools. The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), is seeking peer reviewers for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant competition. Qualified peer reviewers must meet the criteria listed below.

WHO:  We are seeking peer reviewers from various backgrounds and professions including: PK-12 teachers and principals, college and university educators, researchers and evaluators, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, grant makers and managers, and others with education expertise. The selected reviewers should have expertise in at least one of the following areas: education reform and policy, evidence, innovation, strategy, and application review as defined below.

Education Reform and Policy

  • Broad understanding of each of the four education reform areas highlighted in the i3 program (teachers and principals, data systems, standards and assessments, school turnaround), and specific expertise in at least one of these areas
  • Understanding of and experience with implementing student-achievement-focused reform plans at scale in order to know what approaches have the greatest likelihood of success at the school, district, and State levels
  • Experience in implementing effective classroom instruction
  • Policy implementation experience and/or legal expertise


  • Experience managing, conducting, or reviewing rigorous evaluation
  • Understanding of education research and recent findings of the relevant literature
  • Knowledge of education data sources and measures of program implementation and outcomes
  • Familiarity with experimental and quasi-experimental research designs
  • Fluency in reviewing organizational and project evaluation plans and evaluation results


  • Experience starting, growing, leading, and/or supporting innovative projects or organizations
  • Experience leading or helping organizations to develop business models, create plans for scale and sustainability and build capacity to achieve goals


  • Knowledge of effective operational and organizational/management infrastructures required to scale with quality (e.g., people, processes, accountability structures, technology systems, program and grant management)
  • Knowledge of or experience with building effective partnerships and  successfully engaging diverse groups of stakeholders

Application Review

  • Experience reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations
  • Experience participating in or managing State, federal, and/or philanthropic grant project reviews
  • Ability to assess the effectiveness of leadership teams and key contributors
  • Fluency in reviewing organizational and project budgets and cost measures

WHAT: Peer reviewers will independently read, score, and provide written comments for grant applications submitted to the U. S. Department of Education under the i3 program. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that expand the implementation of and investment in, innovative and evidence-based practices, programs and strategies that significantly: improve K-12 achievement and close achievement gaps; decrease dropout rates; increase high school graduation rates; and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness. The application review will be conducted electronically from the reviewer's location, except for one set of reviews that may be conducted onsite in Washington, D.C. Reviewers will receive an honorarium for their services. 

REQUIREMENTS:  In addition to the skills, attributes and expertise highlighted above, peer reviewers must also meet the following requirements:

    •  Availability: Reviewers must be available for approximately 4 weeks during May-July 2010 to review at least 10 applications. (Not fulltime--2 weeks to read applications and 2 weeks for panel review). Scale-up grant reviewers must also be available for an additional week in June-July 2010 for a possible onsite review in Washington, D.C. Reviewers will also be required to participate in an orientation session by conference call prior to evaluating the applications and a series of conference calls for the application review. 
    • Tools: Each reviewer must have access to the Internet, a phone, a printer and have the ability to interact within a web-based environment.
    • Quality of Review: Each reviewer must provide detailed, objective, constructive, and timely written reviews for each assigned application. These reviews will be used to recommend applications for funding. They will also be shared with each applicant following the reviews.

IF INTERESTED: If you would like to be considered as a peer reviewer, please e-mail a copy of your current résumé (No more than 5 pages) along with a completed peer reviewer information checklist-[MS Word 94KB], to the i3 Program at by April 1, 2010.

Note: Please save this exact peer reviewer information checklist-[MS Word 94KB], in MS Word only and title the document as follows lastnamefirstname_reviewerchecklist.

PROGRAM INFORMATION: For more information about the i3 Program, go to

Last Modified: 06/09/2010