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7. When Pay-it-Forward pays off January 12, 2010

Posted by Lisa in All, Networking.
Tags: ,

I got an email out of the blue yesterday.  I’ve been invited to be a scientist reviewer for a series of Department of Defense R&D proposals.  The government tracked me down and wants to pay me to tell them how to spend their money!

I can’t share the specifics of course, but it’s in my area of expertise.

(But ohhh, doncha just wish you could pick the program to review?!?)

All because I volunteered to review grants for the CDC a few years ago, and my (outdated) info was still floating somewhere in the system.

If you’re not familiar, federally funded grants and programs are assessed by review panels comprised of different groups of people depending on the topic.  R&D proposal peer-review boards include scientists/engineers, consumers, clinicians, government representatives, etc.

A few years ago, I reviewed grants for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   So I was still in the system, but with 4 year old contact information.  The science review officer said he’d really had to dig around to get my updated email address.  (Pretty cool, eh?  They tracked me down! – which in this case is a good thing.)  Turns out they didn’t have enough reviewers with biomedical engineering experience, so they looked me up.

So, after a short interview, I was given access to the peer review management website and I updated all my info.  I was also asked to review abstracts of all the submitted proposals and report my level of experience with each topic from “high” to “none.”  Several looked pretty neat, and I’m looking forward to reading the full proposals.  I can’t discuss anything of course – all non-disclosure and conflict of interest, etc.

Don’t get me wrong – being a peer-reviewer is a lot of work to do the job right.  Hours reading proposals, doing your own research, and writing up detailed and technical critiques of each one.  Then presenting and debating the critiques in person to the panel.

But, the government needs my help (oh that sounds so special!) and is willing to pay me a nice per-diem to do it.  Good thing I volunteered to review proposals a few years back.  This gets me not only some income, but access to a good network of researchers, engineers and government representatives.

Compass Point – Volunteering in your area of expertise.  I originally reviewed grants to get contacts and exposure.  Here I am 4 years later – let’s see what I can make of this opportunity.

7 down, 353 to go.



1. 8. Jumbles of stuff « Spinning Compass: My Next Career in 360 Degrees or Less - January 13, 2010

[…] Signed the contact for reviewing federal grants. (Good […]

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