Proposal Peer Review

Proposal Peer Review

Want to Improve Your Chances of Writing a Successful Proposal?
How can you get a feel for what reviewers are looking for?

Become a peer reviewer!

This is not a comprehensive list.  If you would like to offer to serve as a reviewer for another agency/sponsor, 
you may contact the sponsor’s program staff directly or the Office of Sponsored Programs at

National Endowment for the Humanities

Ever wanted to know what happens to your application once you submit it to NEH? The flowchart available here breaks down the steps in the journey that your application takes.

NEH is always looking for scholars and experts in their field to serve as peer reviewers. If you’re interested in serving on an application review panel, please add your name to the NEH’s Panelist Sign-up Form at The NEH welcomes your questions, suggestions, and comments about its review process. Please send your comments to

   National Institute of Justice Peer Review Panels

The National Institute of Justice draws reviewers for both its ad hoc and standing review panels from diverse backgrounds and regions who have relevant expertise and experience in at least one of the following areas:

  • Crime control and prevention research.
  • Criminology, law enforcement or corrections.
  • DNA analysis, research and development.
  • Information and sensor technologies.
  • Investigative and forensic science and technology.
  • Justice systems research.
  • Law enforcement technologies.
  • Violence and victimization research.

Ad Hoc Peer Review Panels:
Some ad hoc reviews are conducted remotely, whereas others involve in-person meetings. Reviewers score 10 to 15 applications within a two-to-four-week period.  Ad hoc reviewers receive $125 for each application reviewed.

Standing Scientific Review Panels
A Standing Review Panel consists of about 15 rotating members who serve three-year terms. Ad hoc members may be appointed on a temporary basis to fill in for members who cannot serve in a given year or to provide additional needed expertise. Each Standing Review Panel convenes annually in Washington, D.C., for two to three days in mid- to late June. Standing Review Panel reviewers receive $150 per application for applications for which they are assigned to complete a Technical Merit Review. In addition, all reviewers receive $150 per day of meeting attendance.

If you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer, start the enrollment process by e-mailing Please include your contact information and resumé. You may also email your resume to if you are interested in being a reviewer for Office of Justice Programs grant applications in general.

National Institutes of Health

The NIH peer review system is the foundation of the NIH extramural research enterprise, and its continued excellence depends on our ability to recruit and retain the most accomplished, broad-thinking and creative scientists and experts to serve as peer reviewers. Such qualified individuals are needed to serve on Scientific Review Groups (or “study sections”) in the initial peer review of applications for funding and R&D contract proposals.

Individuals who possess expertise in areas supported by the NIH and who wish to volunteer to serve in the NIH peer review process should send an email to the Enhancing Peer Review mailbox ( with a brief description of their areas of expertise in the body of the email (1-2 sentences) and a copy of their biosketch as an attachment.

Principal Investigators (PIs) who receive research grant support from the NIH are an enriched source of such highly-qualified individuals. Therefore, the NIH calls upon investigators who have received research grant funding from the NIH to serve on NIH study sections and advisory groups when invited to do so. However, this expectation for service is entirely voluntary and an inability to serve has no impact on an investigator’s ability to compete for grant support.

 National Science Foundation

To become an NSF reviewer, send an e-mail to the NSF program officer(s) of the program(s) that fits your expertise. Introduce yourself and identify your areas of expertise, and let them know that you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer. It is most helpful if you also attach a 2-page CV with current contact information. We also encourage you to share this request with other colleagues who might be interested in serving as NSF reviewers. NSF welcomes qualified reviewers from the academic, industrial, and government sectors.

If you need to find the appropriate NSF Program Officer to contact, just go to the NSF Website: Select the Quick Links tab at the top of the home page. This will take you to the selected home page. The "Contact Us" column provides contact information for Program Officers and the programs they manage. You can then send the Program Officer an email with the information indicated in the above paragraph.

U.S. Department of Education

(see “How are application reviewers chosen?” 19)

The Department recruits reviewers who have expertise in areas pertinent to a grant program.  The Department assesses potential reviewers’ information to determine whether they have the necessary expertise, any conflicts of interest (direct or indirect) in the outcome of the upcoming competitions, or any other reasons for which the public would question their objectivity to serve as a reviewer. Some of the methods that the Department uses for recruiting individuals for the reviewer registry are notices and advertisements in appropriate publications, including the Federal Register, journals, newspapers, and the principal office’s website; letters of request to key individuals (such as college or university deans, heads or prominent members of education research institutions and professional associations, or private and public school officials); and contacts with members of the education community, professional associations, and current or former reviewers.

The reviewer training, grant review procedures, time commitment, and compensation vary from grant program to grant program.  Some programs require travel to Washington, D.C. (at the Department’s expense), while other programs use e-Reader or teleconferences so that grant application reviews can be done from the reviewer’s home or office.

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, contact the program office that administers the grant programs in your area of interest or visit the program office’s website on You will need to complete an application or submit a resume or a curriculum vita providing information that the program staff can use to determine whether you have the necessary qualifications. Contact information for Department staff for each grant program can be found in the Guide to U.S. Department of Education Programs, available at or search the Programs Landing page at

 Links to Relevant Internal Peer Review Opportunities

Research Foundation of CUNY’s Proposal Pre-Submission Peer Review Program:

John Jay College Office for the Advancement of Research’s Proposal Pre-Review Program: