I've been trying to get invited for a review panel at NSF for some time now. The biggest problem has been that the proposals I have been submitting tend to land in a broad set of programs, often making me ineligible to serve on the panels related to my proposals. To make matters worse, my proposals often get co-reviewed between two different panels, doubling the number of panels I can not sit on. This actually scuttled my participation last round.
This round is different, however, because the two collaborative proposals I was intending to submit did not end up going in for a few reasons, meaning only one proposal went in to NSF this round. Before I read that again and start to feel sick, there is a silver lining.
I've been invited to serve on a review panel in this round for a program that I intend to submit a proposal to in January. Although I know it's going to be a decent amount of work and I'll have to juggle it with teaching, I couldn't be more excited. I've met the program officer in charge of the program and think the whole experience will be really positive for me. I'm hoping to also find an excuse to talk to the POs of the other programs I regularly submit to while I'm in DC.
Who knows whether meeting the people in charge will help, but it certainly can't hurt. And the opportunity to see the review proses from the inside has me pretty pumped. Whatever insight I can get from the visit will certainly help me craft the January proposal.