I don’t know about the rest of you, but I truly did not have a firm grasp on what all went into the process of grant money being awarded to a researcher. In my head I just thought “People with a lot more money than me, arbitrarily give money to someone, and hope for the best”. Rationally, I knew that couldn’t be all there was to it, but until recently, I didn’t have evidence to the contrary. That being said…
Back in June I was given the opportunity to attend the annual grant review session of the MPN Research Foundation. I was one of several other patients in the Peanut Gallery, along with MPN RF board members, and other influential people in the MPN Community. The review board itself consists of 8 members, with a variety of expertise, some researchers, some clinicians, some in the MPN field, some outside. The board was quite varied in opinion, and in background. The core goal for all was to make sure that the support offered by the grants from the MPN Research Foundation were going to most worthy applicants.
That is no easy task – this year alone there 43 applicants, after the Foundation sent out their Requests For Applicants (RFA). That is 43, incredibly detailed, complicated grants, with multiple goals (aims), all of which needed to be reviewed, and analyzed. The 43 applications were narrowed down to 23 which were under scrutiny at the review session in June. Each of these 23 grants was reviewed by 3 members of the review board. The 3 members were assigned the roles of either primary, secondary, or tertiary reviewer, and all rated the grant out of 10, once they had completed their review of each of their assigned grants.
Once at the round table, each primary reviewer presented the application, discussed the merits, or shortcomings of the grant. After that, the secondary and tertiary reviewers do the same, and the round table is then open for discussion, questions, or critiques. Once that is complete, the reviewers give their grades for the grant. Occasionally there is a large difference in the grades. When that happens, all of the reviewers have the opportunity to discuss the grant further, and see if anyone wants to change their ratings.
Once all the grants have been discussed, and grades given, the grades are all totaled and a final ranking is assigned to all. The top contenders will be notified when grants are official.
I’d like to thank the MPN Research Foundation for allowing me to join them for this incredibly educational event. I look forward to hearing about the grant winners, and their research over the coming months, and years!
As always, you are your own best advocate, if you do not take care of yourself, who will?
Until next time,