One of the things I like about reading grant proposals is that it makes me think. I'm asked to read and judge topics that can be far flung from my field and interests. But part of that process is, of course, the generation of ideas.
Some of the proposals are closer to my wheelhouse and I would be lying if they haven't made me ponder some alternative approaches to what we do. How could they not? One proposal, in particular, introduced me to a system that I was vaguely aware of, but not in any detail. While the proposal and questions were quite distinct from anything I do, the system piqued my interest as a vehicle to demonstrate principles we are working on in other systems.
Herein lies a dilemma with all reviewing - determining where the line is between stimulating independent thought and leaning on someone else's ideas. In science, we lean on the work of others all the time, but not in its nascent stages.
So, readers, how do you draw the line when reviewing?