It is always a little strange when you finally get to a day you have been working towards for a while. In this case, it's not even my work that is being evaluated, but I would be lying if I said there wasn't some apprehensive anticipation about starting on my first NSF panel tomorrow. Yes, yes, I know I'll do fine and I know that everyone has been the new person on a panel at one point or another, but that hasn't kept me from re-reading all my reviews, plus those of everyone else on each proposal I am associated with. I've skimmed back over the proposals, especially the ones where my review was at odds with the others (which happened a few times).

It's not so much the having to defend my opinion that concerns me, I do that all the time. It is more 1) not knowing how this all goes down, and 2) being sure I don't miss something that results in someone not getting funded.

As for the first point, I don't want to be scrambling tomorrow after one or two proposals are presented because I realize that everyone else introduces some part of the proposal that I forgot to look over again. Oh, you wanted to talk about that? Um, give me a few minutes.... While this seems unlikely, I'll feel a little better after we get through a couple.

On the second point, I know how tough it is getting funding right now and how important these decisions are. Granted, I won't be making any decision in isolation, but I do feel obligated to fight for the proposals I think deserve it and against those that don't. On one proposal, in particular, I am in the minority opinion (somewhat drastically) but I think the proposal is full of problems. That said, I am open to being convinced otherwise and not being the only fly in the ointment.

More than anything, I just want to get this process started so that I am not trying to anticipate what is going to happen, whether I'll be taken seriously and what my overall role will be.

8 responses so far

  • drugmonkey says:

    You'll do fine, holmes. But sweating it means you GiveACrapTM which is good for applicants.

  • Dr Becca says:

    Good luck, PLS!! I'm sure you'll be awesome. Can't wait to hear all about it!

  • jc says:

    Go to the mattresses! FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

  • GMP says:

    Dunno if this is a divison-specific thing, but I have witnesses plenty of unprepared panelists. As in -- they haven't read the proposals in detail at all; that unfortunately does not prevent them from trashing it.

    You will do awesome, I'm sure. I find panels to be generally intense but enjoyable!

  • CoR says:

    Have fun! In my experience, I had one that I found issue with yet the other panelists did not. Probably normal.

  • Alyssa says:

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll do just fine and it will be a great experience too.

  • Nat says:

    Have fun at the debutante ball!

  • ianqui says:

    Again, might be panel specific, but one thing I didn't realize I had to do was summarize the ad-hoc reviewers opinions when I was giving my spiel. So then I had to scramble to remember what everyone said so I could then tell the panel. Now I write a line or two for each reviewer that I can read out at the panel meeting.

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