FAQs | Peer Review

  1. Am I eligible to be a reviewer? 
  2. What’s the difference between Discipline and Regional Peer Review?
  3. How do I become a Fulbright Peer Reviewer?
  4. How many applications will I review?
  5. How much time should I spend on each application?
  6. When does my term begin and end?
  7. When does each review cycle begin?
  8. Can I still apply for a Fulbright Grant?
  9. How do I submit my comments? 
  10. How am I acknowledged for my service?
  11. Can I serve on a Discipline Committee and a Regional Committee in the same review year?

1. Am I eligible to be a reviewer? 

Anyone with an academic or professional background that corresponds with one of the numerous discipline committees or a specific world region and who is not applying for a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant for the same application competition year is eligible to apply. Reviewer CVs are vetted by IIE staff before they are sent to the relevant board for approval: American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), or the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Academic discipline, regional expertise, and demographics, may be taken into consideration in determining the final composition of the review committees.

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2. What’s the difference between Discipline and Regional Peer Review?
Discipline peer reviewers evaluate applications for a specific academic discipline across all world regions. Using established review criteria, discipline peer reviewers base their comments and ratings upon the qualifications and background of the applicant, the feasibility of the proposed project, and the expected benefit to the specified academic or professional discipline. These committees review applications online and do not meet in person.

Regional peer reviewers have had professional or academic experience in the specific world region of their assigned group of applications. They may be from any discipline. Using established review criteria and the comments from the discipline committee, they review applications online and then engage in a discussion of the applicant and their proposed project. Regional peer reviewers then determine whether the application is recommended for further consideration by the host country and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

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3. How do I become a Fulbright Peer Reviewer?
If you are interested in joining a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Peer Review committee, please visit the Application tab for instructions.

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4. How many applications will I review as a Peer Review committee member?
This cannot be determined until the application deadline has passed as the numbers vary each year. Peer reviewers review all of the applications assigned to their committee.

Discipline:  Application numbers vary by discipline; many disciplines have multiple committees reflecting the major specializations. Discipline committees typically review no more than 30 applications.

Regional: Application numbers vary by region. Generally, regional committees can expect to review between 40 and 70 applications.

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5. How much time should I spend on each application?
Peer reviewers typically spend 30-45 minutes per application. As regional peer review committees typically meet in person, regional peer reviewers also need to commit time to travel to and from Washington, D.C. for an all-day meeting. 

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6. When does my term begin and end?
Peer reviewers are asked to serve a term of three years. This is subject to change depending on several factors, including the applicant pool. Each year, IIE conducts a needs analysis, comparing the overall pool of applications to the awards available; committees are formed to ensure broad representation of the applicant pool. If a reviewer is not needed in a given field for a particular year, their term may be extended for an additional year.

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7. When does each review cycle begin?
Please see timeline.
Discipline:  The Discipline Peer Review cycle begins in mid-August each year. Peer reviewers are given approximately three weeks to review the applications. They may be asked to provide additional comments on applications where consensus among the reviewers has not been reached, or to review additional applications submitted for later deadlines.

Regional:  The Regional Peer Review cycle begins in mid-September. Peer reviewers are given access to the assigned applications approximately one month before the in-person committee meeting date. The majority of committee meetings are held between late September through early November.

*Non-Core Program Awards: Some special awards such as the Higher Education Administrator Seminars have different (later) deadlines, and committees are convened to review those applications.  Please contact PeerReview@iie.org if you are interested in reviewing for one of these awards; preference is given to Seminar alumni.

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8. Can I still apply for a Fulbright Grant as a reviewer?
No. Peer reviewers for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program may not submit an application for a Fulbright Scholar award until the next academic competition following completion of their service. For example, they may review applications in 2017 (for the 2018-19 competition) and may next apply in 2018 (for the 2019-20 competition). Peer reviewers may resign from service to prepare a Fulbright application. This applies to discipline reviewers and regional reviewers, regardless of the region for which they are review and to which region they may be applying. Doing so is a conflict of interest and the application may be disqualified.

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9. How do I submit my comments? 
The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Peer Review is managed via our peer review system, a web-based platform. IIE provides access to each reviewer to view the applications assigned to their committee. Each reviewer then reviews, submit comments, and enters a rating for each application in the peer review system. Comments and ratings may only be submitted through this system, so each reviewer must have access to the internet throughout the review cycle.

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10. How am I acknowledged for my service as a committee member? 
To recognize the time and commitment from each reviewer, IIE will submit a letter of acknowledgement to the reviewer’s administrators (or employer) following each review cycle. Each reviewer will also receive a certificate of participation. 

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11. Can I serve on a Discipline Committee and a Regional Committee in the same review year?
No, reviewers may only serve on one committee per cycle.  If you are asked to serve on a second committee, you may choose which commitment to defer until the end of the other committee’s term.

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