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Maintaing effective internal peer review

Importance of effective internal peer review

To maximize both your return on investment and your reviewers’ time, here are some suggestions on how one can get the most out of internal peer review, as well as some new resources that will help you prepare for IPR.

Start early: Experienced and successful grant applicants start writing long before a grant deadline and always obtain critical feedback from colleagues before submitting. Start preparing your application and planning your internal peer review at least 6 months prior to the application deadline. We have created two IPR Planners – one for new grants and one for resubmissions – that will help you establish a timeline for IPR with suggested milestones to make grant writing more manageable. Note that by starting your IPR early you can also take advantage of our External Honorarium Program which provides an incentive for an expert external review or funding towards a professional editor.

Respect your reviewers’ time: Your colleagues are volunteering their time to help you succeed. Contact them early, be clear about what you are asking of them, agree on and meet deadlines, and thoughtfully consider their feedback. Don’t expect colleagues to drop whatever they are doing to read a grant a few days before a deadline. At that point, all they can do is add window dressing, which won’t push your grant into the fundable category.

Aim for 1-2 IPR meetings: In-person meetings are most effective. For new grants, hold a Chalk Talk to go over your project idea/summary page before writing your grant.  This will allow your reviewers to identify any fatal flaws or gaps in your plan early on, while you still have time to address them. For resubmissions, meet to discuss your reviewer comments and the best way to address them before revising your grant. 

If, despite your best efforts, your grant is not ready and will not be competitive, it is highly advisable to delay submitting until the next round. You want to make the best possible impression on the grant panel. Your grant will be funded faster and likely with a better budget for having done so.

Remember, the OADR Grant Development Office is here to help, along with a strong cohort of your colleagues that have all contributed to IPR and our progressive increase in grant success.

IPR Resources:

IPR Planner for New Grants

IPR Planner for Resubmissions

Best Practices for Effective IPR