Friday, 28 May 2010

Some Lessons to Come out of Peer Review Sessions

We’re currently running a series of internal peer review panels, and those who have participated have got some useful feedback on their proposals, as well as an insight into how quickly the fate of their applications is decided. Some useful general points have come out of these exercises:
  • Help the introducer: the person introducing your application is time poor and might not be able to read your application in detail. They don’t want to appear foolish in front of the other panel members, so give them the information they need on a plate. Don't make them trawl through acres of text to get the main points of your project. Give them an overview of your application (what the research question is, why it’s important, how you will answer it, and how you will disseminate the outcomes) up front. Better still, give them some key phrases that they can use when introducing your application, and make the proposal readable, both in the English and in the format.
  • the ‘Zing’ factor: remember that the panel see scores of applications: give them a reason to care about yours. Grab them, and make it clear why your project is important, and funding it is crucial.
  • Methodology is key: don’t take too long on the background, and concentrate on what you are actually going to do during the project.
  • Write defensively: the panel are looking to pull your application apart, and find reasons to reject it. So defend any choices you make, and be up front about any potential problems (such as access to data).
This is just a snapshot of some of the points raised at the panels, and many more points came up during the hour and a half session. We’re intending to run them on a regular basis, so do come along and give your proposal the benefit of exposure to critical and constructive feedback from your peers. More information on the sessions, and on all the Grants Factory events, is available from Jacqueline Aldridge.

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