The Office of Research Development encourages researchers to serve on funding agency review panels to gain experience in the process from the “other side,” and to gain a better understanding of funding agency culture and priorities. The NSF Division of Environmental Biology has posted a blog entry on basic information about how reviewers are recruited and what their responsibilities are. While they include information specific to their division, much of the entry includes the basics that apply across NSF. And, importantly, they note the benefits that reviewers gain from this type of professional service. Reviewers will:
Get a chance to talk with leadership and representatives from the directorate
Gain insight into new and emergent science in their field
Learn about grantsmanship
Learn about the merit review process
Build networks of scientists working in similar areas
The process is intellectually stimulating: NSF guarantees you’ll be pushed in new directions!