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NSF To Change Review Criteria

December 13, 1996

Criteria used by one of the largest funders of basic research to evaluate research proposals is slated to change in 1997. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is revising the criteria used to evaluate approximately 30,000 proposals per year and is seeking comments on the proposed criteria.

NSF has undertaken the process to revise the criteria because "an examination...is prudent from time to time. The current criteria have not changed since 1981, and the proposed changes are intended to make the criteria clearer to the community and to bring them more in line with the 1994 NSF Strategic Plan."

The current criteria ask reviewers to evaluate a proposal for: 1) research performance competence, 2) intrinsic merit of the research, 3) utility or relevance of the research, and 4) the effect on the infrastructure of science and engineering.

The proposed criteria ask reviewers to determine: 1) what is the intellectual merit and quality of the proposed activity? and, 2) what are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

Background and an e-mail form to comment on the changes can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/meritrev.htm Comments must be received by January 31, 1997 with final action expected to be taken in the summer of 1997.