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Bullet peer-review · Mar 18, 2021

Is Grant Review Feedback Perceived as Fair or Useful?

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), in collaboration with Washington State University, has published findings on an analysis of responses from grant applicants regarding their perceptions of the usefulness and appropriateness of peer review feedback they received from grant submissions.

  • Based on responses from a survey sent to over 13,000 scientists (largely from NIH and NSF).
  • Only 56–60% of applicants determined the feedback to be appropriate, (more favorable if their recent application was funded).
  • Independent of funding success, women found the feedback better written than men.
  • Independent of funding success, more White applicants found the feedback to be fair than non-White applicants.
  • Less than 40% of applicants found the feedback to be very useful in future submissions.

Overall, these results suggest that more effort is needed to ensure that appropriate and useful feedback is provided to all applicants.


This investigation is in line with the AIBS commitment to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biological sciences.