In September 2016, the Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) released a new solicitation (NSF 16-614) that announced a move from annual submission of full proposals to rolling or no-deadline submission of full proposals. This blog post is a summary of their experiences at the end of their first year using the no-deadline submission mechanism. Overall, PGRP found that the total number of submissions decreased and that the proposal quality increased.
The program directors for PGRP note that the number of proposals submitted decreased from 133 submitted during their single 2015 target date to 93 in 2017 under the new no-deadline solicitation. This was a decrease of 30%. The number of proposals submitted per month varied, with more submitted during the summer. However, proposals were submitted in every month of the year. Friday was the most popular day of the week for submission, although proposals arrived any day of the week.
PGRP used a combination of written outside (ad hoc) reviews and panel review. Two panels were held during the 2017 fiscal year (between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017). A third panel will be held early in fiscal year 2018 for the proposals that came in after the last 2017 panel. Once enough proposals were received for a panel, they contacted a group of investigators appropriate for the panel and set up the panel as usual. Proposals that came in while panelists and outside reviewers were reviewing were held for the next panel. IOS uses 5 categories to rate proposals at panel with the highest being “Outstanding”. PGRP saw an increase in proposals placed in this category by the panel suggesting that proposal quality was increasing. These results are consistent with our expectation that having no-deadlines really does allow investigators to submit when the proposal is truly ready for consideration.
You can learn more about some of the research supported by PGRP in one of our recent blog posts. Questions about PGRPs experience with no deadlines or any of our other posts can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .