Applications for awards from the NRC Research Associateship Programs are reviewed by panels of experts in broad discipline areas: Chemistry; Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Engineering, Applied Sciences and Mathematics; Life Sciences; and Physics. Each application is read by a minimum of 3 panelists. Panelists assess the quality of an application, the likelihood for success and the contribution of the research to the mission of the sponsoring federal laboratory. Graduate and postdoctoral applicants are evaluated on the basis of demonstrated ability as a student and on their potential for making contributions as an independent scientist. Senior applicants are evaluated on the basis of proven ability and demonstrated research accomplishments. Evaluations are made without regard to age, sex, marital status, national origin, creed, racial group, or ethnic group.
Each reviewer will assign a numerical score based on a number of factors (see below). The applicant’s final score is an average of all reviews. Scoring is on a 100-point scale; only applicants scoring 60 or above can be considered for awards. Sponsoring laboratories offer awards to the highest scoring applicants first and continue to make awards until available slots are filled.
In the review process each applicant is evaluated on the following elements:
Academic and Research Record
Panelists review the appropriateness of the applicant’s training for the proposed research, including degrees, transcripts (except for senior applicants), honors and awards, previous research experience and record of publication and presentation of scientific research.
Reference Reports/Letters of Recommendation
Reference reports or letters of reference contain opinions of persons who should have had a close professional relationship with an applicant; references provide reviewers with important information regarding the applicant's scholarly abilities particularly as it pertains to the proposed research.
Scientific Merit of the Proposed Research
The proposal is evaluated for: importance of the proposed research area, clearly stated objectives, technical soundness of the work plan, innovative aspects of the proposal, feasibility of success, timeliness (can the proposal be completed in the allotted time), likelihood that the research will result in publication, and contribution of the research to the mission of the sponsoring laboratory.
Host Laboratory Technical Evaluation
The Laboratory/Center Review form includes comments from the prospective Adviser and the disposition of the Laboratory/Center's program committee or representative concerning the suitability of the applicant's proposed research. This information aids reviewers in determining the value of the proposed research to the sponsoring agency.
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