What do reviewers react to in reviewing proposals from our Science and Engineering faculty? Three years ago an analysis was done of 6 summary statements after R01s were reviewed and were mostly unscored. Both “good” and “bad” summary statement comments were summarized (the ordinate indicates number sof comments appearing for each category):
So, despite worries that productivity is the main stumbling block (bad teaching loads and the like), instead the criticisms centered on the usual things that grant proposals fail on: too ambitious, feasibility not demonstrated, and poor writing (confusing layout of ideas and plans). Note on the praiseworthy factors that our S&E faculty appear to be innovative and well-qualified. Where there are pilot data, they are convincing. Less frequently occuring good comments were on the collaborations (perhaps these proposals didn’t include many) and on the research environment of the Bay area.