What is a reviewer looking for when assessing track record?

Tseen Khoo at The Research Whisperer has posted an excellent summary of what reviewers look for when assessing track records of research grant applications. It’s written from the perspective of the Australian Research Council, but most of the insights are relevant in the UK research context, too. Here’s a snippet, but check out the original post for the full story:

What do I look for when assessing the track-records of researchers on grant applicants?

It’s naff to say this but I do look for that mythical ‘excellence’, which means different things to different people. It’s a factor that also differs from discipline to discipline. To me, excellence means a fabulous publication record (good quality productivity); strong and real networks of collaborators and community/industry links (if relevant); and research that demonstrates this person or team is doing good stuff (whether it’s creating momentum for a field, showing initiative, whatever – basically, making things happen).

The competitiveness of many funding rounds means that excellent track-records become an expectation. As Mark Bisby, former VP Research for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, has said: “It’s not a test, it’s a contest.”

Part 2 will focus on assessing an application’s overall feasibility. I’d recommend taking a look at the Research Whisperer blog – it’s full of interesting and relevant posts.