Proposal Selection Process

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) follows these general procedures when selecting proposals to recommend for funding. The proposal solicitation and review process is overseen by the National Sea Grant Office.

  • All reviewers of research projects, whether large or small research projects; technical reviewer, panelist, or both, are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest by completing a conflict of interest form.
  • Research proposals are solicited via Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
  • Review criteria for a given competition are listed in the RFP.

Two-Year Research Projects

Preproposal Review

Preproposals are typically screened by internal IISG representatives and external subject experts. External subject experts assess each preproposal’s appearance of scientific rigor, fit with IISG thematic areas outlined in the RFP, and potential for stakeholder impact. IISG representatives provide feedback to help PIs better align their proposed work with IISG goals. PIs are encouraged or not encouraged to submit full proposals based on expected total funding available for a given RFP, typically at a ratio of at most 4:1 full proposals not funded: full proposals funded. PIs may submit a full proposal regardless of whether or not they have been encouraged to do so.

Technical Peer Review of Full Proposals

At least three (3) subject experts are solicited from universities, government agencies and research institutions to review each full proposal submitted. Reviewers are selected based on their technical knowledge of the proposal subject area and ability to evaluate the scientific merit of the work. Reviewers may be based anywhere in the world. Proposals that lack scientific rigor become apparent during this process.

Expert Panel Review of Full Proposals

An expert panel is convened to evaluate the proposals in light of the technical reviews. Panel members are selected for their ability to evaluate not only the science of the proposed work, but the potential for the proposed work to have broader impacts in both scientific communities and society. The panel ultimately suggests whether proposed projects are fundable, or not, as written, and identifies priority proposals to be funded.

Funding Decisions

An IISG internal committee, typically comprised of the Director, Research Coordinator, National Sea Grant Office Program Officer, and other relevant staff, meets to make final funding recommendations based on the expert panel recommendations and the total amount of research funds available. Funding recommendations are ultimately made at the discretion of the director of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. Provided that enough proposals are of sufficient quality and scientific rigor, IISG typically tries to spread funding across topic areas and institutions.

Recommendations are submitted to the National Sea Grant Office for approval. Upon approval, researchers are asked to submit any necessary final paperwork. Project start dates are outlined in a given RFP.

One-Year Research Projects

Peer and Expert Panel Review of Full Proposals

Given the relatively short length of these proposals, the expert panel convened typically evaluates the proposals both for technical merit (as described for large projects) and for the potential for the proposed work to have broader impacts in both scientific communities and society. Panelists must declare potential conflicts of interest (see above). As with two-year research projects, the panel suggests whether proposed projects are fundable or not, as written.

Funding Decisions

As with two-year research projects, the IISG internal committee, typically comprised of the Director, Research Coordinator, National Sea Grant Office Program Officer, and other relevant staff, meets to make final funding recommendations based on the expert panel recommendations and the research funds available. Funding recommendations are ultimately made at the discretion of the director of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. Provided that enough proposals are of sufficient quality and scientific rigor, IISG typically tries to spread funding across topic areas and institutions.

Recommendations are submitted to the National Sea Grant Office for approval. Upon approval, researchers are asked to submit any necessary final paperwork. Project start dates are outlined in a given RFP.