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Public Consultation on the NHMRC Draft Principles of Peer Review submission

This submission reflects the views of
Individual Background: 
Researcher – biomedical
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General Comments

Some general comments that particularly relate to fairness of peer-review for Project grant applications;

1. GRP members should have held category 1 (and usually NHMRC) grants as CI and preferably as CIA. In 2012 there were GRP members who had not held grants as a CI and this is inapproriate as such people are not experienced enough to make valid comment on grants.

2. The selection of a GRP for a specific project grant should not be made by NHMRC staff (and particularly those that have never held a NHMRC grant as a CI), but rather it should be selected by the applicant CIA. This would result in the most appropriate GRP assessing specific grants; and this does not currently always occur. Indeed, GRPs outside the field of application have been previously chosen to assess some grants and this is grossly unfair. Further, this would reduce administrative burden on NHMRC staff.

3. The grant review process should be constructive in subsequent years; as per the NIH RO system. At present there are many anecdotal reports of people improving applications in subsequent years and getting a worse assessment / grades. At the same time there are also many anecdotal reports of grant applications being resubmitted with no changes and going from unfunded to funded. That is, there is a significant apparent randomness in the review process and the subsequent outcomes; and this may in part be due to 1 and 2, above.

Page reviewed: 19 February, 2013