Guidance for Reviewing Proposals

Reviewing a proposal?
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Reviewing a fellowship proposal? Find guidance here.

Please review the guidance and evaluation criteria described by the specific opportunity you are reviewing. Your review is essential for informing panel or program decisions on funding. Generally, your review is a combination of scores and written comments. Please provide:

  • A general numerical evaluation of specific evaluation criteria for the proposed project
  • Detailed written comments that you feel will help the panel determine the merits of the project
Criteria Scores (Example for 2024 Omnibus RFP)

Your ratings give the panel a general idea of your judgment of the scientific merits and relevance of the proposal. Scores are tallied as part of the final proposal evaluation. Specific guidance on each ranking factor is provided below.

A. Research Plan (30%)
  • Scientific Merit: What is the scientific and technical feasibility of the study?
  • Objectives: Are the scientific objectives clearly stated and justified? Will they lead to actionable science outcomes?
  • Methodology: Are the methods appropriate to the scientific problem outlined?
  • Time Schedule: Can the PI complete the project in the allotted time frame specifically set in this Request for Proposals? 
B. Relevance to Sea Grant (30%)
  • Relevance: Is the proposal relevant to the current RFP and MDSG Strategic Plan? Does the project address one of MDSG's priority areas?
  • Appropriateness: How appropriate is support from Sea Grant for this proposal relative to other sources of funding? Does the proposal leverage Sea Grant resources effectively through coordination and collaboration with other programs, funding sources, and collaborators?
C. Potential Impact and Outreach (30%)
  • Opportunities: Does the project provide actionable science outcomes that can be applied over short- or long-term timeframes? Is a well-developed engagement plan proposed to translate results of the study for end-users outside of direct scientific peers to drive policy or behavior change? Is co-production of science with communities considered and enacted, if appropriate for the study?
  • Potential Impact: Does the research have a potential to impact public policy, management decisions, and/or behavior change? Does the proposed work contribute to broadening access to science or increasing diversity in the workforce (either for team members or stakeholders)?
D. Applicant(s) (10%)
  • Team approach: Has the applicant assembled an effective collaborative or multidisciplinary team, if appropriate? Have end-users groups been involved in a co-production model, if appropriate?
  • Knowledge of the Field: Does the applicant demonstrate a clear, well-grounded knowledge of the field of study? Are the appropriate references acknowledged? 
  • Previous Contributions: Based upon the brief CV provided, does the applicant appear to possess the background and technical foundation needed to complete the project? Does the applicant have experience working with diverse communities or other diverse audiences?
Please note that a rating of "excellent" should indicate a truly exceptional proposal that has the potential to address critical issues and make a substantive contribution over the life of the award.
Summary Comments

Reviewer comments are an essential component of the review process. They are in large part the technical basis upon which the panel makes decisions. Intellectual merit and consistency with the RFP should be highlighted. Comments should also address issues of relevancy and programmatic fit. In addition, a detailed technical evaluation provides vital insights that will help applicants formulate stronger research efforts and better proposals in the future. Please use this section to provide background and justification for your numerical ratings of the proposal.

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