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Changes to NSF Merit Review Criteria

Intellectual Merit Review Criterion

ctenophore_beroeAll proposals submitted to NSF are reviewed according to two merit review criteria: Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts. The National Science Board revised the Intellectual Merit Review Criterion to increase emphasis on support of potentially transformative proposals by adding the underlined phrase below:

  • What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
  • How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields?
  • How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.)
  • To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  • How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

All proposals received since January 5, 2008 have been reviewed using this revised criterion. Program officers are instructing reviewers to pay special attention to those proposals that may include potentially transformative research.