Insights from Inside IOS (I3): Suggesting Reviewers or non-Reviewers for your proposal

As we posted in the announcements section, we’re starting a series of blog posts designed to give you the inside scoop on the thoughts of Program Directors (PDs) within IOS. We’re calling this series “Insights from Inside IOS” or “I3.” 

The purpose of the series is to discuss a variety of subjects related to submitting grant proposals to NSF – some of which may be covered in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) or other process documents  – but in a less formal tone. We hope to provide you little nuggets of wisdom that may improve your future submissions.

As new rotating PDs come into IOS and permanent PDs continue to interact with the PI community, there are moments when we think, “This tip would be great to share!” So now we’re going to share these thoughts out loud. Well, not really out loud, they are going to be typed in the blog, but you get the point. Don’t worry, report outs on Virtual Office Hours, notice of solicitation updates and more in-depth features on new or noteworthy solicitations aren’t going away; the blog will feature both! And there will always be good information about particular solicitations or priorities covered in Virtual Office Hours (upcoming schedule and link to register for sessions) and you can always reach out to PDs with questions; we’re here to help. 

Suggesting Reviewers or non-Reviewers for your Proposal 

One of things we’ve noticed recently is that some of the more experienced Principal Investigators (PIs) submit suggested reviewers for their proposal, while some novice PIs do not. Why not? Any PI submitting a proposal to NSF can and should take advantage of this opportunity. 

It is simple – a PI can upload a document entitled “List of Suggested Reviewers” as a “Single Copy Document.”  Within that document, you, as the PI, can provide names of individuals you think have the expertise to review the proposal you are submitting (it is helpful to also include their institution, email address and their area of expertise). Just make sure there is no potential conflict between you (or your research team) and a suggested reviewer (i.e., they should not be listed anywhere in the COA forms you submit). Also, realize it’s not particularly helpful to list the “usual suspects,” individuals that a PD might easily identify themselves. 

You can also tell us who you do not want NSF to ask to review your proposal. Most PIs will indicate why they do not want that individual to review the proposal (but it’s not required). Two brief examples of reasons can be: a) an individual is working on research related to the project and you would prefer that they do not see your unpublished data and ideas; or b) the proposal directly disagrees with this individual’s reported findings.

We hope you enjoy these more conversational posts and let us know if there are any topics you might like us to cover by using the blog suggestion form