This type of review consists of reading applications, evaluating them , writing the comments and then posting comments on the funding department’s website (usually G5).  Following that you spend a few days (3-5) in Washington DC paneling and making corrections.  For me this procedure has much less stress than the onsite or at-home process.

The review starts with a phone orientation or “webinar” where the department goes over all the program requirements and their expectations.  This generally is 2-3 hours long.  Be sure and mute your phone so that a large number of reviewers do not hear things going on in your home that you really might not want them to hear.  I don’t think I’ll pass along any examples as they still make me shudder. 

The applications may be mailed to you or you may download them from the department’s website.  Perhaps this is the place to mention that the websites do make some people pull their hair out and disappear into the night never to be heard from again.  I would say that 75 percent of the time they work as expected (which is not to say they are good, just average).  The other 25 percent— let’s just say it is problematic.  The good news is that the technical staff is very helpful.

You should always write your comments in a Word document and then cut and paste them into the system.  The system has a bad habit of tossing you out so that if you are not saving frequently— you lose your work.  I have seen grown men cry when they lost hours of work.  

The hybrid review is actually the best of both worlds.  You get to do the majority of the work at home in your pjs, cat on your lap, sipping coffee and then you get to go to DC and meet your friends (and make new ones) while you panel face-to-face.