NSERC Mock Reviews
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The Canadian Society for Ecology & Evolution has organized reviews of NSERC Discovery Grants in response to longstanding needs for members to “pull back the veil” on this process. The two “Mock Reviews” undertaken so far use real Discovery Grants, current or recent members of NSERC’s Evaluation Group 1503 (for Ecology & Evolution), and Brenda MacMurray (one of NSERC’s superb program officers dedicated to Ecology & Evolution, the other being Kenn Rankine). The Mock Review is run according to real timing and using formats that are exactly those used during evaluation week, within the limits of a simulated process.
These reviews are especially valuable for early career applicants.
Applications should be started early and be reviewed by colleagues who have recent experience and success with the DG program.
Applicants should be aware that their Evaluation Group is bound by NSERC rules around the Discovery Grant program, and EG members rely heavily on Merit Indicators (excellence of the researcher, merit of the proposal, and quality of the training program and track record; These criteria are given at the end of the Peer Review Manual). Common “beginner” mistakes in Discovery Grant submissions include submitting a proposal for a short-term project instead of a research program, not distinguishing clearly between short and long term goals for the program, and “phoning in” the training plan for Highly Qualified Personnel.
These reviews will be valuable for anyone applying to the Discovery Grant program, but obviously these proposals and the EG members are from EG 1503.
Many thanks to these colleagues who dedicated so much time to helping members of the research community in this way, but especially Brenda MacMurray and Professor John Reynolds.