Peer Review

The Peer Review Process and How to Participate

The peer review process, a hallmark of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program, ensures that applicants are evaluated on academic, scholarly, and professional criteria. IIE coordinates this initial screening of Fulbright U.S. Scholar applications for the Fulbright Scholar Program. Applications recommended following the peer review process are then considered by the host country and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

The peer review process encompasses two phases of application review:

  • Discipline (mid-August through mid-September)
    Discipline Peer Review Committees are comprised of several reviewers with relevant discipline knowledge and expertise. Each complete application is evaluated by a discipline committee, according to the applicant’s background and proposed project. These committees review applications on an online review platform; they provide comments according to the review criteria and rate each application. These comments and ratings are then shared with the Regional Peer Review Committee.
     
  • Regional (late September through early November)
    Regional Peer Review Committees are interdisciplinary, where reviewers have relevant professional experience in the specific world region of the application and are often Fulbright U.S. Scholar alumni. Each complete application is reviewed by a regional committee, reflecting the geographic region selected by the applicant. Informed by the discipline committee’s evaluation of the application, the regional committee determines whether the application is recommended for further consideration. Committees review applications using the same online review platform and review criteria. They begin their review approximately one month before their committee meets to discuss the applications, where reviewers come to consensus on whether applications are recommended for further consideration. Meetings typically take place in IIE’s Washington, D.C. office.

Why Become a Peer Reviewer?

The work of the peer review committees is vital to the success of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.  It is because of the great care that peer reviewers take while reviewing applications that we can ensure a fair selection of Fulbright Scholar Program grantees. 

Enrich:  Continuing enrichment of your Fulbright experience by learning from other applicants in your field and giving back to the Fulbright Program. 

Engage:  Engaging in a deeper way with the Fulbright Program and Fulbright Scholar Alumni.

Evaluate:  Evaluating applications will expose you to ongoing projects in your field and help ensure the competitiveness of the Fulbright Scholar Program. 

To recognize the time and commitment from each reviewer, IIE will submit a letter of acknowledgement to your administrators (or employer) following each review cycle.

Join a Committee

If you are interested in serving on a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Peer Review Committee, please see the Application tab for instructions.

Grant/Program Dates or Duration:

To be considered for peer review committee membership:

  1. Review the Peer Review Overview presentation (Coming soon)
  2. Complete the Peer Review Survey
  3. Email your current CV or resume to PeerReview@iie.org
  4. The peer review team at IIE will be in touch on the status of your request. If you are selected to be a reviewer, guidance and instructions will be provided, along with access to the web-based peer review system.
Terms of Appointment

Prospective discipline and regional peer reviewers are identified based on recommendations from IIE board members, IIE staff, current and past peer reviewers, Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections, and individual self-nomination. Once approved, reviewers are appointed for a three-year term by IIE on the authority of the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils. Academic discipline, regional expertise, and demographics may be taken into consideration in determining the final composition of the review committees. All reviewers read and evaluate all of the applications assigned to their respective committee.

Peer Reviewer Testimonials

 

Dr. Abigail Firey

Dr. Abigail Firey, West European History Discipline Committee

"It was a real honor to serve.  I felt I was repaying part of the enormous debt I owe to Fulbright for so many riches: friendships, professional contacts, and intellectual development.  I also loved seeing the exciting scholarship that is going on in so many fields.  The applications are all genuinely interesting, and I learned a lot.  Thanks for the privilege and opportunity."  

 


Professor Arlene Kanter

Professor Arlene Kanter, Israel Regional Committee

"My participation on the Peer Review Committee has been a highlight of my post-Fulbright Experience. First, I learn a great deal from reading the applications and am humbled by the creativity, intellect, and different competencies and experiences of the applicants. Second, I very much enjoy our review committee discussions. I enjoy hearing my fellow reviewers' comments and feel fortunate that we complement each other in our respective expertise and focused reading of the applications. Finally, I enjoy working with the wonderfully competent, energetic and professional Fulbright Staff." 

 


Dr. Mahyar Arefi

Dr. Mahyar Arefi, Architecture & City Planning Discipline Committee

“Overall, I find this experience very insightful in my own career development.  You get to see what the best scholars and researchers in the country are working on, become familiar with their research agendas, and their scholarly priorities.”

 

 


Professor Cid Pearlman

Professor Cid Pearlman, Dance Discipline Committee

“It was interesting to see the breadth of my colleagues' interests and to consider how receiving a Fulbright Award could impact their teaching, scholarship, and career. Equally interesting was considering the needs of the institutions and their students.  I look forward to participating again next year.”
 

 


Dr. Andrew Giarelli

Dr. Andrew Giarelli, American Studies/Culture Discipline Committee

“Once I got into it I found it truly rewarding in several ways. It helped me see where and how I fit, especially as an independent scholar, within my discipline of American Studies. It gave me tips and ideas on how to apply for other American studies fellowships. Most importantly, it energized my commitment to the Fulbright experience: I would like to continue and deepen my involvement with the program.”

 


Dr. Maxine Sample, Scholars in Residence Regional Committee

“Serving as a peer reviewer is a tremendous faculty development opportunity because I have a chance to see what other universities are doing or have done to internationalize their institutions. I learn much from the discussions when the reviewers come together as well.  The peer review experience is informative in providing insight into the program standard as well as the program's latitude for flexibility and creativity in meeting that standard. The experience also gives a different perspective of the review process.  For example, as an applicant, the perception is that the reviewers are looking for a way to say NO, which is not the case. Finally, the experience takes me out of my institutional and discipline silo, which is a good thing.  Being a proponent of interdisciplinarity, I enjoy having a glimpse into how other disciplines see their role in globalizing student learning.”


Professor Abdul-Majeed Azad

Professor Abdul-Majeed Azad, Engineering: Chemical Discipline Committee

“Stimulating. Having availed the opportunity of being a Fulbrighter, it was an honor to serve as a Discipline Reviewer in the case of deserving future Fulbrighters. In addition to the applicants in my area of expertise and overlap, there were interesting themes from others as well, which was quite interesting.”

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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. 

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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. 

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top