Award Transparency Best Practices

March 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

treeMany ADVANCE programs offer small grants as part of their institutional transformation initiatives.  For example, our Career Development Awards provide $15,000 for faculty to develop collaborative research projects, usually with peers or potential mentors from other institutions.  There are a number of things we have done to make award processes more transparent.

  1. We state the review process and selection criteria in the request for proposals (RFP).  “An ad hoc review panel of faculty members and administrators will review the applications.  Proposals are evaluated on their potential to have a significant impact on the faculty applicant’s career goals as well their ability to affect the careers of women scientists.  Because the goal of the ADVANCE Program at NSF is to fund initiatives that support women scientists’ success, all applicants must describe how their proposed plan will affect the careers of women scientists, either applicants or collaborators.”
  2. Potential applicants like to see examples of successful proposals.  We include a note about the availability of these materials in our announcements when releasing a new RFP.  Additionally, we provide web links to funded project descriptions so applicants can quickly see which of their colleagues and peers have been successful (networking opportunity!).
  3. We explicitly cite NSF guidelines in our RFPs and communiqués.  For instance, we provide a link to the Allowability of Costs from the Grant Policy Manual to help explain decisions about eligible expenses.  We also provide a link to NSF program areas to help us clarify disciplines that are and are not eligible for funding through the CDA program.
  4. We automatically provide reviewer feedback to unsuccessful applicants as part of the decision-making process.
  5. We measure and report application submission and success rates to help us assess if we are reaching our target groups effectively.  For example, as of 2008-09, there are eleven STEM women associate faculty members at Brown University.  Of these, nine (82%) have applied for CDAs.  Seven (78%) of those applicants have received grants from this competitive award program.

What processes have you implemented to promote best practices for award transparency?


Entry filed under: funding. Tags: , , .

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