Information for Peer Review Committee Members

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What a Peer Review Committee Member Does

The Fulbright Specialist Program relies on experts across the eligible program disciplines to serve as peer reviewers in order to identify the most qualified applicants for appointment to the Specialist Roster.  CIES is responsible for coordinating and conducting the initial screening of Fulbright applications through the peer review process, a hallmark of the Fulbright Specialist Program that assures that applicants will be evaluated on academic, scholarly, and professional criteria. Peer review committee members play an integral role and are tasked with the following:
  • To consider applications in the context of the basic objectives of the Fulbright Specialist Program;
  • To assess the appropriateness of the applicant's background, experience and achievements for a short-term international exchange opportunity;
  • To consider the expected benefits of the applicant's ability to promote mutual understanding, to benefit host countries and, upon the grantee's return to the United States, to benefit home institutions and/or networks of professional colleagues.

In collaboration with institutions of higher education, professional associations and CIES board members, CIES develops review committees that represent academia's disciplinary, geographic, and institutional diversity. The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) evaluate those interested in committee membership. The peer review committee membership policies are outlined below.


Peer Review Committee Membership Guidelines

Discipline review committees consist of a group of individuals with specialized expertise who evaluate applications and recommend candidates for further consideration by bi-national Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassies in more than 100 countries around the world.  The presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board makes final selection of Fulbright Specialist candidates.

CIES has developed an on-line review process so committee members do not have to travel to Washington to participate.  Over the course of the year, reviewers evaluate no more than an average of fifteen (15) applications per cycle.  The streamlined applications, consisting of an abbreviated CV, two references, and a brief application form, are reviewed in batches eight (8) times during the year.  Each peer review committee is assigned to participate in four (4) review cycles over the course of the year.  Occasionally, committees may be asked to review individual applications between batches.  Every effort will be made to keep off-cycle reviews to a minimum and to ensure that reviews do not occur at the traditionally busiest times of the academic year.  A two to three-week period is allotted for evaluating applications and submitting them to CIES. 


Members of committees are appointed by CIES on the authority of the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils. Prospective members are identified based on recommendations from CIES board members, CIES staff, current committee members and individual self-nominations. Disciplinary, geographic, age and gender balances are taken into consideration in determining the final composition of the review committees.


Committee membership is typically one term (March 2013 – May 2014) with the possibility for renewal depending on each terms’ committee needs.  Committee configuration is determined annually through a needs analysis that assesses the overall pool of applications and to ensure committee membership that is broadly representative of the applicant pool.  If no applications are received in a discipline during a particular year, a member’s term may be extended for an additional year.

Eligibility/Conflict of Interest

  • Fulbright Specialist Program Discipline Reviewers who wish to apply for Specialist roster candidacy status, the core Fulbright Scholar Program, the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program, Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program or the International Education Administrators Seminars (IEA) Program may not submit an application for an award until one year following completion of their service.
  • If a discipline reviewer active is on the program roster, he or she must take a leave of absence from the roster during the year in which he or she is serving on a review committee.  The year of the leave of absence will be added to the end of the reviewer’s original five-year roster term, giving him or her five full years of eligibility on the roster.
  • Fulbright Specialist Program Discipline Reviewers may not write a letter of reference for an applicant being reviewed by the committee on which they serve until the academic year following completion of service or resignation from the committee.
  • Fulbright Specialist Program Discipline Reviewers may not serve on the peer review committees for the core Fulbright Scholar Program or other Fulbright Scholar grants while simultaneously completing their year of service as a reviewer for the Fulbright Specialist Program.
  • Fulbright Specialist Program Discipline Reviewers may not complete a Fulbright Scholar Program award while simultaneously completing their year of service as a reviewer for the Specialist Program.

    Provisions of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended

  • Applicants shall be considered without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex or age.
  • Although the physical and mental health of candidates must be adequate to allow them to fulfill the terms of their grant, no qualified disabled candidate will be subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • Preference shall be given to those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Due consideration shall be given to applicants from all geographical areas of the United States.

    Privacy Act of 1974

    Under the Privacy Act (Public Law 93-579), any individual who is requested by or on behalf of a federal agency to provide information about himself or herself must be informed of the authority, purpose and uses to which the information provided is intended to be put.

    In conformity with this legislation, persons interested in Fulbright grants are informed of the following:
    The solicitation of the information requested in application forms is authorized under the Fulbright-Hays Act; the information is intended to be used in screening and selecting grantees and in the administration of the grants; it may be released to appropriate U.S. governmental agencies, the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, binational Fulbright commissions, foreign host institutions, Congress, the news media, and relatives of the grantee trying to reach the individual for bona fide personal reasons.


Becoming a Peer Reviewer

If you are interested in serving as a Peer Review Committee Member for the Fulbright Specialist Program, or have any questions about the review process, please email or call 202.686.8640.


Online System Login

If you are a Fulbright Specialist Program Peer Review Committee Member, please log in with the user ID and password information sent to you via email from at the link below to access and complete your evaluations:

If you have any questions or are experiencing problems with the online system, please email or call 202.686.8640.