What are “Cognizant Program Officer Comments” and where can you find them at Research.gov?   

What are “Cognizant Program Officer Comments”?   

When a proposal decision has been made, the PI(s) can view the following information at Research.gov

  • Proposal status (such as awarded or declined) 
  • De-identified copies of all reviews 
  • A panel summary (if the proposal was reviewed by a panel) 
  • Cognizant Program Officer Comments (if written) 

The Cognizant Program Officer (PO) Comments section on Research.gov is where the PO may provide written feedback to the PI(s). This may include an explanation of the basis of the award or decline, pertinent information in the reviews or panel summary that the PO wants to highlight as important, and/or additional information relevant to the proposal. After taking some time to digest the reviews, panel summary, and cognizant PO comments, we encourage you to contact the NSF program if you want to discuss your proposal. You might also want to check out a previous blog post on ways to approach a not-so-positive proposal review

For both awarded and declined proposals, the goal of all this feedback from the reviewers, the panel, and the PO is to help the PI(s) improve the proposed research. This feedback can assist the PI(s) when preparing future proposals for submission or may provide additional suggestions to consider when initiating their recently funded research. 

Where can you find “Cognizant Program Officer Comments” at Research.gov? 
PO Comments can be found the same location where you view and download your panel summary and reviews in Research.gov. The Cognizant Program Officer Comments appear just below the “Application Status History” box and above the “Panel Summary” or “Proposal Review” boxes that contain the PDFs of your panel summary and reviews. Please see the red outlined area in the generic example below. 

The “Cognizant Program Officer Comments” can provide useful information to help you understand the review process, so please make sure you take the time to look at this feedback!