Elena Erosheva (PI) and Carole Lee (co-PI) have been awarded a $260,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Science of Science Policy Program. Their project on “Developing Methodology for Commensuration Bias Detection in Grant Application Peer Review” follows their contract work with the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health to study possible commensuration bias in NIH grant review.
This project builds on a growing scientific literature that studies how grant peer review works with an eye towards identifying ways of improving its effectiveness. More specifically, grant proposal review procedures commonly require reviewers to score applications along multiple dimensions -- for example, a proposal's approach, innovation, versus significance -- as an intermediate step in determining the proposal's overall score. When procedures are left unspecified for how reviewers should combine individual scores (along multiple dimensions) into overall scores, evaluators might arrive at overall scores in ways that subtly advantage and disadvantage grant proposals submitted by applicants from different social groups. Any such difference is what we call commensuration bias.
This project aims to offer concrete, efficient policies that ensure fair review for any grant agency that requires scoring of applications along multiple criteria, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is the world's largest public funder of biomedical research in the world.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.