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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1985 May;66(5):318-21.

Grant application and review procedures of the National Institute of Handicapped Research: survey of applicant and peer reviewer opinions.


A mail survey was conducted to document the experience, critical comments, and recommendations of a sample of applicants and peer reviewers who participated in the 1983 grantee selection process conducted by the National Institute of Handicapped Research. Questionnaires were sent to 46 applicants and 36 peer reviewers who participated in seven priority areas involving competition for either a research and training center or a rehabilitation engineering center. Questionnaires were returned by 37 (80%) of the applicants and 27 (75%) of the reviewers. The peer reviewers were generally more satisfied with their experience. Their negative criticism was concerned largely with the excessiveness of the work load. The reviewers were unanimous in stating that federal personnel made no effort to influence their judgments. The majority of applicants agreed that the criteria for evaluating proposals were stated clearly, but they disagreed with how some of the criteria were weighted. The applicants' strongest dissatisfaction was with the time allowed to prepare applications and with the selection of peer reviewers. Analysis of the collective publication record of successful applicants and of the peer reviewers indicated that the reviewers had contributed significantly less to the literature of the relevant priority area.

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