rowan university

Research Committee

Monitors research and research services on campus to identify and address issues of research interest. The committee makes recommendations for (I) promoting research and research awareness on campus; (II) meeting resource needs for research; and (III) establishing policies to ensure that research related issues on campus are addressed appropriately. The committee solicits, compiles and disseminates input from the campus community to insure that the faculty, staff, students, and administration are aware of current research efforts, resources and challenges.  

Beth Wassell, 2013-14 Chairperson 

 

Memorandum
To: Senators
From: Robi Polikar, Former Research Committee Chair
Re: Proposed guidelines for Non- Salary Financial Support Grant (NSFSG) Applications

The attached resolution (and its associated report) makes recommendations to the NSFSG application and evaluation procedures. In its first cycle, the NSFSG committee found out that the faculty was given very little guidance on preparing the proposals, and there was essentially no detailed process for evaluating the proposals. As a result, the NSFSG committee received 68 proposals, many over 30 pages (some well over 50 pages) in length, in what appeared to be 68 different formats. Furthermore, lacking a specific review process, all six committee members had to review all 68 proposals, most of which were outside their area of interest / expertise, even for many proposals that came from their own college.

The research committee was therefore charged separately by the senate as well as the provost to prepare a set of guidelines to streamline the application as well as the evaluation process. The attached document provides such a process in detail. Please note that the level of detail provided in the document is for the benefit of the faculty, so that they can follow a very specific set of guidelines on what should the proposal include, how long it should be, what budget items are allowable, and how the evaluation process be conducted. For the senators, I would like to provide the following executive summary of the document.

Preparation: The proposal consists of a cover page, an extended summary written for general audience (1 page), main project description written for colleagues / experts in the same topical area (6 pages), references (2 pages), a budget and its brief justification (2 pages) and a CV (2 pages). All page counts are upper limits, with 1 inch margins and 10 point font or higher. Any faculty whose project scope does not require that many pages may — and in fact encouraged to — use fewer pages with a larger font, if they so desire. The recommended content of these sections are provided in detail (in the attached guidelines), and in general designed to guide the faculty member to make a strong case for his/her proposal. The guidelines, again in general, represent the minimum set of requirements that are typically asked by most funding agencies; hence preparing the proposal according to these guidelines would help faculty improve their proposal writing skills, should they decide to apply for future funding from external sources.

Evaluation: The research committee went to great lengths in discussing the evaluation process so that this process provides as accurate, fair, transparent, unbiased and least taxing review as possible. Our primary concern was to have the proposals reviewed by qualified people, not just some random faculty within a college. Therefore, we recommend the following four step process:

  1. The senate appoints an 8-member NSFSG committee (one from each college, three from LAS).
  2. Each committee member selects two reviewers for each proposal assigned to his/her unit, based on the topical area of the proposal. The authors are asked to recommend up to five names (in alphabetical order) that they believe to be qualified in their area, from which the committee member may select any two. The reviewers may come from different departments/colleges, if such qualified people reside elsewhere, and the committee member may seek the reviews of other people if deemed necessary.
  3. The committee member asks the reviewers to fill out an evaluation form (attached), which asks their qualifications / area of interest, their relation to the proposal authors, their scores on various issues of the proposal, as well as their comments for justifying the scores.
  4. The committee members bring all information to the panel meeting, to discuss and rank deserving proposals. All panel members, apart from reading only the proposals that are assigned to them, are also asked to read the one-page summaries of all proposals so that a meaningful discussion can take place. All reviews, minus the reviewers' name, are returned to the proposal authors as feedback. While this process at first may seem complicated, it is in fact fairly straightforward and objective, it is least open to abuses, it is least taxing on all involved (it divides the task to many people), it is most transparent, and in our view, most fair. It is also similar to the process followed by most journals for evaluating manuscripts submitted for publication; hence it is a time-honored process. The research committee respectfully requests your approval.

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