Peer-Review Certification Guidelines

May 31, 2013 Debra Cheung

USDA-NIFA California (CA) Agricultural Experiment Station (AES)

UC Davis Project Proposal Review Process


This procedure was developed based on the recommendations of the CA&ES Term Appointment Review Committee (TARC) and communicated via email to AES faculty, CE Specialists and departmental MSO's in Dec. 2005.  This information was also communicated in the Annual AES faculty meeting hosted by Neal Van Alfen (AES Associate Director / CA&ES Dean) in Jan 2006.  


The UC Davis California Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) project proposal review process outlined here has as its goals:

(i)                 To provide a rigorous scientific review of all proposed projects, with opportunities for constructive feedback to the principal investigator for proposal revisions, if needed, prior to submission to the UC Davis Associate Director of the AES and, ultimately, to USDA.

(ii)               To ensure that all approved AES projects include a research and outreach plan that are consistent with the mission of the UC Davis Agricultural Experiment Station.

Stage 1: Peer-review at the departmental/sectional level

The research and creative activities conducted by faculty in the UC Davis AES are too diverse to be reviewed critically for scientific content by any single central committee. Thus, the first stage of the review process will be conducted within the principal investigator’s home department or section.  The goal of the first stage of the review process will be to assess the scientific rigor of the proposed work and, for project revisions, to evaluate progress made since the last proposal. 

The chair of the principal investigator’s home department or section shall appoint an ad-hoc review committee to be made up of two faculty members who are closest to the principal investigator’s area of research.  In cases where there is no one within the home department or section with the requisite expertise, it may be desirable to recruit a third committee member from a different department on campus, if such expertise can be found there.  The ad-hoc review committee will prepare a single report (see attached worksheet), to be provided to the principal investigator and the department or section chair, which will contain:

(i)                Recommendations for any modifications to the proposal.

(ii)               An assessment of whether or not the overall quality and rigor of the proposed work is satisfactory.  In cases where substantial revisions are requested, and at the chair’s discretion, the revised AES project proposal may be subject to a second round of review by the ad-hoc review committee. 

All proposals will be forwarded to the second stage of review by the department or section chair, who will certify that the first review stage and all requested revisions have been completed successfully.

Stage 2: Review by the UCD AES Project Proposal Review Committee

All proposals approved at the departmental/sectional level will be forwarded to the UC Davis Associate Director of the AES for review to include consistency to USDA guidelines and applicability to the mission of the UC Davis AES.  Members of the AES Project Proposal Review Committee (PPRC) will be the CA&ES Executive Associate Dean, the CBS Executive Associate Dean, and the CA&ES Divisional Associate Deans. The committee of associate deans will meet each month during the peak season of project submission, generally July, August and September, and as needed throughout the remainder of the year. 

The Associate Director has delegated to the CA&ES Executive Associate Dean responsibility to lead the review of all submitted AES project proposals.  Based on an initial reading, the proposal will be placed into one of two categories:

Category 1: Recommended for approval.  Recommended for approval following initial screening by chair of review committee.

Category 2: Requiring full review.  Proposals that are not obviously consistent with the UCD AES mission will be reviewed by the PPRC committee.  The committee will then develop a single recommendation for either approval or for revisions, in which case clear feedback should be provided to the principal investigator regarding the nature of the needed changes.

Proposals that are returned to the principal investigator for revision will be re-reviewed by the using the same process as the original proposal.

Certification of Peer Review - Template

Ad-Hoc Committee Worksheet

Return to Proposal Checklist or AES Menu

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