Man holding a pencil writing a review

The RDO assists University of Iowa faculty with preparing more ambitious, collaborative, and successful proposals. To assist faculty in submitting proposals that are more successful, the RDO facilitates external reviews for proposals to external funding agencies. External review of proposals prior to submission will provide critical feedback in order to strengthen the proposal and improve the overall likelihood of success.

Timeline Considerations

  • At least 10 weeks before due date: Contact the Research Development Office at
  • At least six weeks before due date: Provide complete and compliant proposal to RDO to send to reviewer.
  • At least four weeks before due date: PI is provided written critique from reviewer as well as a 30-60 minute Zoom call to discuss review.
  • After agency review and funding decision: Inform RDO about status of proposal and provide reviewer comments.

External Review Process

The PI will provide the RDO with at least two potential external content experts to review the proposal. The RDO will facilitate arrangements with one of those reviewers to complete a full review of the proposal.

Using agency-specific review criteria, external reviewers will provide a written critique of the proposal’s strengths and weaknesses as well as its overall impact and significance to the field. In addition to a written critique, the PI, external reviewer, and RDO representative will participate in a 30-60 minute Zoom call to discuss the critique. An external reviewer will receive an honorarium of $500 for completing the review process.

UI Eligibility Criteria

All University of Iowa faculty who are eligible to be principal investigators (PI) may utilize these programs. Each fiscal year, only one request per PI is allowed.

External Reviewer Eligibility Criteria

External Reviewers should be able to provide a non-biased review of the proposal.  The selected external reviewer cannot be a past professor or mentor, a collaborator on or involved with the project, or anything else that could be a potential COI. External Reviewers should also not be affiliated with the UI.


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