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“Matching game” not allowed in NSF peer review

April 23, 2009

As mentioned in an earlier post, I was recently in Washington DC participating in an exercise for envisioning and structuring novel ways to allocate the additional 50% NSF is getting in its upcoming budget. As a good veteran of the Canadian granting system, I suggested that state and institutional matching (and commitment) be part of the evaluation criteria. I was shocked to hear from the NSF officials that this was impossible (maybe illegal). Why? because of its potential to discriminate (against certain states/institutions) and to skew the evaluation which should be solely based on scientific merit.

I am not convinced it is an ideal policy, but it surely puts a perspective on whether in Canada we have gone too far in the opposite direction.What do you think?

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