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Volunteer Reviewers Needed for NASA Programs

May 1, 2018

The following was contributed by Dr. Max Bernstein, SMD Lead for Research at NASA Headquarters:

As the lead for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), I am often told by the NASA HQ folks who run the research programs that it’s a lot of work to find enough qualified proposal reviewers who are not conflicted. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for proposers who are unhappy with their evaluations to assert that the people who reviewed their proposal must have been unqualified. To solve both of these problems and, just as importantly, to increase the diversity of the pool of reviewers, I am writing this appeal to potential reviewers:

  • Please sign up using our web-based volunteer reviewer forms.
  • Each form asks for: 1) contact information 2) whether you are willing to be a panelist, mail-in reviewer, or executive secretary (good for graduate students and post docs who have never served as a reviewer before) and 3) identify specific technical areas of expertise.
  • There are many different technical areas depending on the program, from Solar Interior through Outer Heliosphere and the Interstellar Boundary in Heliophysics, from formation of the Solar System to technology development in planetary science, as well as Astrophysics data analysis and Earth Surface and Interior and Space Geodesy Programs.
  • Links to all of the forms may be found at:

Additionally, the SARA web page ( has all kinds of useful things like the program officers list, with a match up of the various research programs and their points of contact, a Grant Stats page where one can download an xls spreadsheet with numbers of proposals submitted and selected for various research programs, FAQs for ROSES (SMD’s annual research solicitation) and an RSS feed for the latest clarifications, corrections, and amendments to ROSES.


Bio: MaxPhotoDr. Max Bernstein studied good old-fashioned chemistry at McGill University and Cornell but got into space science right out of graduate school and never looked back. As the PI or Co-I on numerous NASA grants from the Astrobiology, Exobiology, PGG, and Origins of Solar Systems programs he supported himself and post-docs for a decade on R&A awards. Thus, he knows from personal experience, both as a soft money scientist and as a civil servant what it’s like to compete for funding, and how important it is for the proposal submission, review, and award pathway to be smooth. He is enthusiastic about NASA’s science research and proud to be helping to make it even better as SMD’s Research Lead.

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