This information came today.

The Department of Education (Department) is seeking reviewers to evaluate discretionary grant
applications for the FY 2011 Talent Search (TS) Program competition.  See details at: 

                      http://www.ed.gov/programs/triotalent/index.html.

Because of the large numbers of applications anticipated, the technical review of eligible applications received under the TS Program competition will be conducted using three review sessions and each session will consist of two phases.  Phase one of each review session will consist of the on-line review of applications and will utilize the Department’s G-5 e-Reader electronic field reading system.  Phase two of the review will consist of Federally-subsidized travel to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for the paneling and finalization of the technical review forms for each of the assigned applications. Orientation webinars for the three FY 2011 Talent Search sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 10:00a.m–12:00p.m. and 2:00- 4:00p.m. and Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at  2:00- 4:00p.m. You are only required to attend one of the webinar to be eligible for consideration as a reviewer. Webinar links will be contained in a letter upon selection for this competition. The schedule of activities for each of the three sessions planned is as follows:

Session            Reviewers Notified     G-5 Reader Begins        On-site Panels
  1                      Dec, 27, 2010            Jan. 7, 2011            Jan. 31 – Feb.4, 2011
  2                      Jan. 24, 2011            Feb. 4, 2011            Feb.  28 – Mar 4, 2011
  3                      Feb. 18, 2011            Mar. 4, 2011            Mar. 28 – Apr 1, 2011

(Every reviewer must participate in a peer reviewer orientation session prior to starting the G-5-reading process.)PLEASE NOTE:  The success of this unique reading activity is dependent upon the commitment of the selected peer reviewers to fully participate in each of the time-sensitive scheduled activities.  Also, it is important to note that within three (3) days from the time your assigned applications appear on-line in the Department’s G-5 system, you are required to have three technical review forms completed, uploaded into the G-5 system, and ready for review by your assigned panel monitor.  The completed technical review forms must contain comments reflective of a thorough assessment of the applicants’ responses to each of the selection criteria as contained in the Project Narrative section of each application.  Only after your assigned panel monitor has determined that your work, thus far, is of an acceptable quality will you be allowed to continue with the G-5 system process and receive an invitation to come to the Washington, DC metropolitan area site for the completion of the session’s activities.  If your work is determined not to be of an acceptable level, you will be dismissed and a replacement reader will be added to your panel to complete the process. 

As noted above, the Department will use its electronic field reading system (G-5 System) for phase one of each of the sessions. The G-5 system electronic system is accessed through the Department’s Grants portal site.  Reviewers will access the assigned applications electronically. Three-member review panels will evaluate each application.  Reviewers will electronically enter comments and scores on each application via the G-5 system.  To ensure optimum participation, reviewers must have the following: (1) access to the Internet from their local review site via broadband or DSL (not a dial-up connection) to be able to talk on the telephone (not a cell phone) and access the Internet concurrently; (2) Internet Browser IE 5.5+, Netscape 6+ or FireFox 1+ (note: e-Reader is best viewed using Internet Explorer 5+); (3) Acrobat Reader for opening PDF documents; (4) Microsoft Word (if PDF package is not available); (5) cookies and JavaScript enabled in their browser; and (6) a Laser Printer is recommended.
Phase two of the peer review process will allow face-to-face on site panel discussions of each of the assigned applications.  All reviewers must participate in the on-site paneling sessions. During these sessions, reviewers will discuss each application, revise or modify comments, if necessary, and arbitrate any excessive score variances. Reviewers will use the on-site computer equipment to complete or make changes to the technical review forms as necessary.  Readers are allowed and encouraged to bring personal laptops, however, this is not required.  The Department will provide a bank of computers in a secured area at the review site where reviewers may complete their e-Reading tasks.

We are mindful of your busy schedule and encourage you to think carefully about your availability for this time-sensitive review process, which is described herein.  Reviewers must be available to devote a significant amount of time to this process and must complete all phase one and phase two activities by the target dates.
As a peer reviewer, you will be compensated for your services and therefore you are considered as a “temporary” contractor. You will be expected to comply with all of the requirements and expectations addressed in this document.

If you are interested in serving as a reviewer:
1.    Update your personal information and indicate your availability status for each session or any combinations of sessions for this competition in OPE’s Field Reader System (FRS) no later than December 17, 2010.  You must also certify that you do not have a potential conflict of interest.  Carefully read the “Conflict of Interest Form” on our Field Reader site. If you have any conflict, as described on the conflict of interest form, please select the “Unavailable” option when updating your personal information, as you will not be selected to serve as a reviewer for this competition.
We will notify you via e-mail (according to the schedule outlined above) if we select you as a peer reviewer for one or more of the review sessions.  We will send additional information about our e-Reader process, including information on how to participate in the appropriate peer reviewer webinar, to persons selected to serve as reviewers and alternates.  Information about the Department’s G-5 system is available at: http://www.G5.gov/.  The G-5 system includes a User Guide and a demonstration program available to assist reviewers in operating the software.
Each reviewer may be required to evaluate up to 10 applications that are up to 65 double-spaced pages each. Reviewers will receive an honorarium of $100.00 per completed application, plus $10.00 for supplies (paper/ink), per application reviewed.  [NOTE:  A completed application is one that has been independently reviewed and paneled, with requested changes made and accepted allowing for final clearance by Department staff.  The completion process also includes full participation in phase two of the on-site paneling process to be held in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.   Reviewers will not receive full compensation if this process is not fully completed and all conditions adhered to as outlined in this letter.] 

Peer reviewers will not receive any additional compensation for the five-day on site review conducted in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  Potential reviewers who participate in the orientation session and are selected as alternates but are not called upon to read will receive an honorarium of $100.

If you need assistance with the Field Reader process, please contact Joyce Thomas at 202-502-7662 or via email at joyce.thomas@ed.gov. We look forward to your prompt response as we prepare for this important review process.
Please indicate your availability status for this competition and update your personal information using OPE’s Field Reader System (FRS):  http://opeweb.ed.gov/frs.