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Why You Should Volunteer to Serve As An NSF Reviewer

Reviewers are Essential - NSF needs YOU

The success of the peer review process, which enables NSF to make wise investments in all fields of science and engineering research and education, depends on the willingness of qualified reviewers like you to share your time and expertise. Your experience and up-to-date knowledge enables you to provide helpful advice to NSF program officers on the merits of proposals and constructive comments to proposers that strengthen their projects. In making its decisions on proposals, the counsel of these merit reviewers has proven invaluable to the Foundation in the identification of meritorious projects. The Foundation also may ask reviewers to serve on panels, for which NSF pays travel expenses.

To implement peer review, NSF depends upon the reviewer community for nearly 240,000 reviews per year. We try to limit the number of requests made to any single individual, recognizing the many demands our reviewers have on their time. Therefore, NSF strives to increase both the size and diversity of the pool of reviewers to ensure that the NSF merit review process benefits by receiving broad input from a variety of different perspectives. You can help by volunteering to review proposals in your area of expertise.

Benefits to You as a Reviewer

In addition to providing a great service to NSF and the science and engineering community, reviewers benefit from reviewing and serving on panels. For example, reviewers gain first hand knowledge of the peer review process; learn about common problems with proposals; discover strategies to write strong proposals; and, through serving on a panel, meet colleagues and NSF program officers managing programs related to your interests.

How to Become a Reviewer

To become an NSF reviewer, send an e-mail to the NSF program officer(s) of the program(s) that fits your expertise. Introduce yourself and identify your areas of expertise, and let them know that you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer. It is most helpful if you also attach a 2-page CV with current contact information. We also encourage you to share this request with other colleagues who might be interested in serving as NSF reviewers. NSF welcomes qualified reviewers from the academic, industrial, and government sectors.

If you are selected as a reviewer, NSF will ask you to provide some demographic information on a voluntary basis1. Although submission of demographic information by reviewers is voluntary-and there are no adverse consequences if it is not provided-reviewers are strongly encouraged to provide this information to NSF. These data are used in the design, implementation, and monitoring of NSF efforts to increase the participation of various groups in science and engineering.

Contact NSF Now

Please take a few minutes now to contact NSF. If you need to find the appropriate NSF Program Officer to contact, just go to the NSF Website: Select the Quick Links tab at the top of the home page. This will take you to the selected home page. The "Contact US" column provides contact information for Program Officers and the programs they manage. You can then send the Program Officer an email with the information indicated above in the paragraph on "How to Become a Reviewer."

1Collection of personal information is authorized by the NSF Act of 1950, as amended. The data are protected by the Privacy Act and Public Burden Statements (see, which means NSF will not give this information to anyone outside NSF, unless legally required, or specifically authorized by law.