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Fractured Prism

Welcome to the Fractured Prism. This is my domain (I love the sound of that, kind of like my kingdom), where I will share reflections of the many facets of my life. At the very least, I am a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, homemaker, teacher, counselor, and grant writer. Through the years, I have been professionally cut and polished or just accidental fractured into thousands of pieces and have thoughts about them all. I have found that I am writing for many reasons but mostly to share my small bits of wisdom. Come back often because each reflection will be different. My ultimate goal is to have a place where grant writers, grant reviewers and funders can network. So if you are into grant writing or grant reviewing please leave your name and email. Linda Beason

Peer Reviews

The peer review section is provided for those who are interested in being peer reviewers. I am not sure that all the contact information is current but you can always call the office and get current information.

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Category: Peer Reviews

The SAMHSA Grant Review Office – Peer Review Process

The following site has detailed information about the peer review process for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant programs.  SAMHSA has an excellent review program.  They pay better than most and are generally done at home with little stress.   Love to work for SAMHSA : )

To apply to SAMHSA go to the following link and look under “grants” tab:

SAMHSA also has a great blog at:





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Handbook for Reviewers

I found this excellent online handbook for grant reviewers by Karen Morison and I am going to create a link below.  It is full of all types of good information.  As Karen says, ” it is designed to help teach you all about the federal grant review process so that you can help the government make those funding decisions. You will learn how the process works, what all the terms mean, tips on how to be an effective reviewer, and, finally, how you can be considered to be a grant reviewer.”

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This was written by an experienced reviewer, Lyn Whitehead.  It has a lot of good information and links to reviews.  Thanks Lyn for sharing! 

I decided to put this together for my friends that are interested in applying to become grant/peer reviewers for the Federal government. Let me know if you have any questions but here are a few things to consider:

In order to expedite the process, make sure you send them ALL the info they request, such as resumes, writing samples, etc., in addition to the application. It often takes a while to get selected for a review, so you don’t want to further hinder the process.

Opportunities are available for those that both, like to travel and for those that prefer to do reviews at home.

If you want to do reviews onsite, they are usually held in Wash. DC, VA or MD. All flights are paid for in advance and you will be reimbursed for food. Most of the reviews I’ve been to provide a breakfast and lunch buffet and you pay for dinner on your own. The per diem reimbursement for dinner is about $36 if I remember correctly. For those that don’t provide any meals, reimbursement is about $73. You are also responsible for any parking, baggage and other fees, but they will be reimbursed.

If you want to do reviews at home, make sure you have a working computer, a landline phone, a printer, a fax machine or scanner, and a quiet place to have your phone conferences.

All of the agencies listed here provide stipends unless otherwise stated. They generally range from $150 to $300 per day. For onsite reviews, many agencies pay on the last day of the review. Some (such as OVW) send a check within 4-6 weeks. Homebased reviews generally send your check within 60 days.

I do have my personal preferences. 1) I prefer onsite because I love a free trip and it’s easier to get the work done without distractions. PLUS—you get your paycheck before you leave! 2) My favorite agencies to work for are OVW and DOL. I’ve enjoyed OVW because the logistics people are terrific; the reading and scoring is easy; and they pay the most! DOL has an easy review process as well and they pay a decent sum compared to others as well.

The review season for many agencies is Feb. through August. Some, such as HRSA, review throughout the year, but you should apply to all the agencies for the best chances of getting selected this year.

To learn more about general grant writing, volunteer to review proposals at your local United Way. They don’t pay anything but it’s great for networking.

Here are some links for more reading about the review process and more links to applications:



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Reviewers Needed

This is on the ACF FaceBook page:
 “We are looking for reviewers, with experience in reviewing for the Office of Family Assistance (OFA), to participate in a review taking place next week (Aug. 28 – Sept. 2). If you have reviewed for OFA in the past, let us know if you are interested in participating in this upcoming review. Please email Nne-Nne at by 4pm on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Thanks”

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2011 Promise Neighborhoods – CALL FOR PEER REVIEWERS

(Thanks to Nelson Alba)

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), is seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers for the FY 2011 Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation grant competitions. Promise Neighborhoods is a competitive grant program that supports cradle-to-career services designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in distressed urban and rural neighborhoods.

They are seeking peer reviewers from various backgrounds and professions, including: State or district education officials, PK-12 teachers and principals, college or university educators, researchers, evaluators, community development practitioners, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants with experience in the nonprofit or social sectors, and grant makers or managers. Peer reviewers may have expertise in various geographies, including urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. The selected reviewers should have expertise in at least one of the following areas: education reform, community and youth development, strategy and policy, and grant application review.

If you have any questions about the peer review process, please contact email:

Go to this link to apply:

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Reviewers Needed!

Grant Reviewers: The Illinois State Board of Education is looking for grant reviewers for their 21st CCCL grant; follow this link for the contact information:

Thanks to:




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i3 Program Seeks Peer Reviewers–Deadline Extended to July 15

(Thanks to Alan D’Souza)

Through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) supports innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement.  The department is now seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers for the newly announced FY 2011 i3 grant competition.  

The Call for Peer Reviewers may be found on the i3 website at:

Peer reviewers may come from various backgrounds and professions including: PK-12 teachers and principals, college and university educators, educational evaluators, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, grant makers and managers, and others with education expertise.  The selected reviewers must have expertise in at least one of the program’s five absolute priorities or in educational evaluation

i3 Absolute Priorities :      

Supporting Effective Teachers and Principals      

Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Implementing Standards and Assessments

Turning Around Low Performing Schools

Improving Achievement in Rural LEA’s


Educational Evaluation Experience in designing, conducting, and reviewing rigorous educational evaluations, including

Understanding of education research and recent findings of the relevant literature ·      

Knowledge of education data sources and measures of program implementation and outcomes ·      

Expertise with experimental and quasi-experimental research designs ·      

Fluency in reviewing organizational and project evaluation plans and evaluation results 

Additionally, the most qualified candidates will also have expertise in one or more of the following attributes or skills: program or organizational innovation, experience disseminating or scaling successful programs, and prior experience reviewing or approving grant applications. For specific instructions on how to apply, please consult the i3 Call for Peer Reviewers.  The deadline for applying is Friday, July 15.  Reviewers will receive an honorarium for their time and effort.  The review panels will be conducted via phone conference.  No travel is necessary.

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USDA Calls for Peer Reviewers for FY2011 Farmers Market Promotion Program

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites individuals to share their expertise in reviewing project proposals for the fiscal year 2011 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant cycle.

Administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, FMPP is a competitive grant program designed to expand direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities in the U.S. through the development and promotion of farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism, and other direct-marketing channels.

 “A peer review is a time-tested method that allows open, public input by experts in a given field or discipline,” said Rayne Pegg, Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service. “In this case, peer reviewers are vital in ensuring that the grantees will promote the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities.”

 Reviewers will include peers from agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, non-profit corporations, public benefit corporations, economic development corporations, regional farmers market authorities, and employees of federal, state, local and tribal governments. Expertise is particularly sought from farmers who are direct marketers, and reviewers with substantive experience in implementing electronic benefits transfer (EBT) projects.

 Prospective peer reviewers are expected to have a general knowledge of the operational aspects of locally based farm marketing programs, EBT projects, farmers markets, and other agricultural direct-marketing businesses. Reviewers will apply their knowledge and expertise to score and comment on applications submitted for the fiscal 2011 FMPP grant cycle.

 Selected reviewers must commit approximately six weeks for the FMPP review process. Reviewer commitment also includes the individual review of 20 to 30 proposals and an online group review and discussion about proposals. Due to budget constraints, reviewers will not be requested to travel to Washington, D.C.

 Individuals and/or their organizations (including subcontractors) that prepare or submit applications to FMPP for the fiscal 2011 grant funding cycle are not eligible to serve as reviewers. In addition, prospective reviewers will not be selected to review certain proposals if they or their organizations (including subcontractors) have a conflict of interest as detailed in the invitation. To review the invitation, go to

To apply, email Ricardo Krajewski at or call the FMPP office at (202) 720-8317. FMPP management will contact those individuals selected as reviewers.

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“How to Become a Grant Reviewer”

This is a link to an excellent article about peer reviewing by Karen M. Markin, who is director of research development at the University of Rhode Island’s research office.

“How to Become a Grant Reviewer”

Do the people who review grant proposals really care about the font size when the science is brilliant? Do they actually notice the laptop that you included in your budget plan?

When reviewers gather to evaluate grant proposals, they usually do so privately, making those sessions a rich source of academic folklore. The best way to find out what a review session is really like is to participate in one yourself. Being a junior faculty member need not be an obstacle. Many different organizations need grant proposals reviewed, and with a little effort, you can probably find a gig.

Agencies typically look for people with expertise in the field of activity that a given round of proposals will support. That field of activity, though, may be broadly defined, so don’t fret about not specializing in the same subfield, such as organic versus analytical chemistry. A proposal for an organic-chemistry project may not be reviewed by a panel consisting entirely of chemists, let alone chemists in the same area of specialty. Also, research is becoming increasingly multidisciplinary, and review panels often cover a range of disciplines rather than a few highly specialized subfields.

An agency seeks out reviewers in several ways. Sometimes it actively recruits them. It scans lists of the authors of papers at major scientific conferences or the authors of recent scholarly articles in the field. Agencies have been known to find reviewers through Google searches. In addition, many agencies accept applications to be a reviewer. Information and tools on their Web sites have made it easier to volunteer your services.

Reviewing proposals can require a substantial amount of work, so be sure you have the time before accepting an invitation to serve as a panelist. Find out how many grant proposals you will have to read, how long they are, and how much time you will get to review them.

It’s important that you be able to spend an adequate amount of time on the task. Have you ever gotten back a review of your grant proposal that made you think, “They didn’t even read this”? A cursory review helps no one. Budget your time accordingly.

The Review Process

Proposals reviews are carried out in several ways. In some cases, the agency assembles a panel of reviewers at its office. As a reviewer, you receive a batch of proposals ahead of time so you can read and evaluate them. Each reviewer is likely to be responsible for presenting several of the proposals to the panel as a whole, with a recommendation about whether to fund it. The whole panel then considers the project and makes its decision.

A number of scenarios can develop in panel discussions. The lead reviewer may support a proposal, but a fellow panelist may find a problem with its methodology or some other aspect of the project. Depending on how severe that problem is — or whether other panelists perceive it as a problem — the proposal may ultimately be rejected.

Sometimes the lead reviewer recommends rejection, in which case the project’s only hope is that someone else will read it and feel strongly enough to advocate for it. Occasionally, a majority of panel members support a proposal, but one person is vehemently opposed to it for a flaw that others don’t see. That person may have expertise in an area that no one else does. One strong detractor can sink an otherwise popular proposal.

As you can see, the process is not easily predictable, and it is subject to the influence of the personalities of those involved. Keep that in mind the next time a proposal you have made is rejected: It probably had nothing to do with you personally and a lot to do with the mix of people serving on that particular panel.

That is not to say that proposal review is purely a game of chance. Most of the time the outstanding proposals shine through, and the clunkers are quickly identified and eliminated.

But there are a lot of proposals in between, with a mix of strengths and weaknesses, and that’s where much of the debate takes place. And as grant money gets tighter due to shrinking federal appropriations, review panels will be forced to split finer and finer hairs to make funding decisions.

In some review sessions, panelists stay at their own offices and evaluate grant proposals by conference call. In other cases, they mail in their critiques. As budgets are cut, agencies are looking for less expensive ways to conduct reviews.

You won’t make much money reviewing grant proposals, but the work will pay off. The agency typically will cover your expenses if you need to travel to a panel, and it may give you a small honorarium.

The value is in the experience itself. You will see what is expected of successful grant requests. You will meet other faculty members active in your field, and read proposals for work at the vanguard of the discipline. You can have the kind of intellectual discussion that many are seeking in academe but seldom have, what with grading papers and serving on committees.

Ultimately, the experience can help you to prepare better proposals and obtain grant money for your own work.

For more from Karen, follow this link:


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This came recently from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS)

Reviewer recruitment for the 2011 OSDFS grant competition cycle has begun. In order to be considered a potential reviewer for this year, you must re-enter your areas of expertise in the OSDFS Peer Reviewer Database. This must be done even if your areas of expertise have not changed from last year. OSDFS modified the list of areas not only by expanding the list but also by re-classifying existing areas; therefore entries made prior to April 2011 are no longer valid.
You can access your profile at using the User ID and password you were issued when you initially registered. Your User ID is your first initial (capitalized) followed by your last name (first letter capitalized) and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not recall your password, please click on the “Forgot Password” button on the Registration page and follow system prompts to receive a reminder e-mail.
We urge you to modify your profile as soon as possible. Recruitment for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program is currently underway and it is crucial that we are able to identify all qualified potential reviewers in order to uphold the integrity of the review process.

If you are not already registered, this would be a good time.  Go to the website above to register.  All individuals new to the peer review process must register and upload a résumé in order to be considered a potential reviewer.

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