NHMRC Response to Assessors Guide PDF

NHMRC Project grants- Responses to Assessors (Rebuttal)
Applications made to the NHMRC for research funding undergo rigorous review both
by external assessors and panel members. Researchers are allowed an avenue for
comment on these reviews by means of a rebuttal. A brief explanation of the
assessment process, how best to reply to the rebuttals and help available at ECU is
detailed below.
Assessment process
Applications are allocated to a Grant Review Panel (GRP) and assigned a Primary
and Secondary spokespersons that assess the application against the following
criteria:
• Scientific quality 50%
• Significance of the Expected Outcome and /or Innovation of Concept (25%)
• Team quality and capability relevant to the application and to opportunity
(25%)
The NHMRC also seeks reviews from External Assessors.
In June, prior to the GRP meeting, applicants will have an opportunity to respond
(rebuttal) to the reviews provided by External Assessors and Spokesperson(s).
Applicants have up to 10 days to complete their rebuttal response. These reviews,
together with the applicant’s rebuttal, will be used to form the applications final score.
Applications at the bottom of the ranked scores will be informed of their Not for
Further Consideration (NFFC) status in mid-August and will not proceed to GRP
discussions. The success of applications that proceed to full GRP discussions will be
notified later in the year, usually towards the end of October/Nov.
How to reply to an Assessors review
Rebuttals are managed in the NHMRC online Research Grants Management
System (RGMS). Your rebuttal is presented by the second spokesperson and will be
considered for no more than 10 mins. So make it easy to read, direct and
informative.
•
Read the Assessor Reports carefully, and then put them aside for a short
while to prevent a knee jerk response!
•
Always submit a rebuttal. It may change a borderline application into fundable,
or it may clarify an otherwise seen as fundamental flaw.
•
Inform all CIs and AIs of the reports and compare notes on how to respond
and agree on a planned reply. Include all investigators in the rebuttal.
•
Two of the reports will be from external assessors (who will not see your
rebuttal). One is written by a panel member who will be your primary
spokesperson. Therefore it is critical that you:
o Don’t use abusive, retaliative or disparaging language.
o Don’t question the competence of the assessor.
o Avoid appearing defensive or offended.
o Respond calmly and objectively.
o Be positive.
o Be clear and concise.
•
Make it easy for your Spokesperson to find the information they are looking
for:
o Focus on major criticism first. Allocate space in proportion to the
importance of the comment being addressed.
o Address similar concerns together.
o Differentiate question/heading and response by using bold or capitals.
Formatting is important for clarity and speed reading.
o Answer questions in the order they appear.
o Try to answer every question.
o Don’t begin by thanking the assessors and wasting space. Begin by
briefly summarising positive points.
o Don’t summarise your grant application.
•
Specific responses may include:
o Updated results or pilot work that support your aims or method (but do
not alter the original application).
o If an assessor has provided criticism but there is little evidence to
justify this, you could reply "The applicants have been unable to identify
evidence to support reviewer X’s claim regarding…..”
o Comments on track record should be addressed. Include any
major/strong update to your track record.
o Comments on budget should be addressed. Argue carefully the level
and personnel requested. Don’t fight minor queries (<$5000).
o Address technical issues in lay terms so that it is accessible for all
panel members.
o Seek help with statistical questions. Schools have access to in house
statisticians. If unsure contact your RDA.
•
Seek a peer review from at least one experienced colleague or RDA
How to submit a rebuttal
• The rebuttal must be uploaded to RGMS in the ‘rebuttal’ tab as a PDF
document and is normally limited to two pages (3 pages if assessed by the
Indigenous Health GRP). Adhere strictly to the formatting requirements and
guidance outlined in your rebuttal letter (usually Attachment A). Attachment B
of your rebuttal letter provides specific instructions for submitting in RGMS.
•
Please note that there is also an option on the ‘rebuttals’ tab to allow an RAO
to submit a rebuttal on your behalf.
Help is on hand
• RGMS questions
Research Administrative Officers: Kylie Rudrum (ext 3430) and Sharon Middleton
(ext 3669) or email [email protected]
• Review help
Research Development Advisors : Dr Caroline Chapman (ext 3462)
[email protected] or Dr Aaron Stewart (ext 6194) [email protected]
• Statistics advice
Jacqui Coombes (FHES statistician) (ext 2892) [email protected]
2015 NHMRC Project Grants
Guide to Uploading your Rebuttal
After logging into RGMS, follow the steps below to upload your rebuttal into RGMS.
1) From the RGMS Landing Page, select the Applicants tab.
2) Under the heading Responding to assessor comments, click Upload my rebuttal.
3) Using the filters available, select the appropriate Initiative (Project), Round
(2015_Project Grant_funding_commencing_2016) and enter your Application ID (eg APP1000000),
then select Filter.
4) When you have identified your Application, click the hyperlinked Application Title.
5) In the new screen select the Rebuttal tab to reveal a dropdown arrow.
6) Select the dropdown arrow and choose Rebuttal.
7) You will now be on the Rebuttal Upload page.
8) Use the Browse button to locate the Rebuttal on your computer.
NOTE: The PDF file MUST not exceed 2MB in size. NHMRC uses the commonly accepted definition
(used in reference to computer memory) of 1Mb being equal to 1,048,576 bytes. Therefore any
application exceeding 2,097,152 bytes will not be accepted. Applicants are advised to retain a copy of the
PDF file they submit.
9) To submit your Rebuttal, select “Yes, Submit my response to NHMRC” from the Completion of
Rebuttal option.
10) Selecting Save will submit the rebuttal to NHMRC. Upon successful submission, NHMRC will send an
automated email to the CIA. If an RAO submits the rebuttal, an email will also be sent to the RAO(s).
If you do not receive the email, please contact the Research Help Centre on 1800 500 983
or email [email protected]
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2015 NHMRC Project Grants
Guide to - Granting your RAO permission to upload a Rebuttal
After logging into RGMS, follow the steps below to grant your RAO permissions to upload your rebuttal into
RGMS on your behalf.
1) From the RGMS Landing Page, select the Applicants tab.
2) Under the heading Responding to assessor comments, click Upload my rebuttal.
3) Using the filters available, select the appropriate Initiative (Project), Round
(2015_Project Grant_funding_commencing_2016) and enter your Application ID (eg APP1000000),
then select Filter.
4) Your Application should now appear (or something along these lines…..).
5) Click the hyperlinked Application Title which will take you to a new screen.
6) In the new screen select the Rebuttal tab to reveal a dropdown arrow.
7) Select the dropdown arrow and choose Allow RAO To Submit Response.
8) On the new screen, select your Administering Institution.
9) Selecting “Yes” to the declaration, I Authorise the RAO at this Institution to Attach and Submit my
response, will grant your Primary RAO the permissions required to submit your rebuttal.
10) Click Save to finalise the permissions process.
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