Higher Education

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 85–94

The role and influence of the us national science foundation's program officers in reviewing and awarding grants

  • James Mccullough

DOI: 10.1007/BF01383573

Cite this article as:
Mccullough, J. High Educ (1994) 28: 85. doi:10.1007/BF01383573


The NSF's practice of relying on scientifically qualified program directors, some of them “rotators” from university laboratories, to make grant-giving recommendations independent of external peer reviewers is a marked difference from the practice in Australia, the UK and Canada, and in other US agencies such as the National Institutes of Health. I will discuss the features of the NSF grants management practices in the context of the US Federal research system, with particular emphasis on the benefits and problems that arise from having relatively powerful program directors, and will appraise the practice begun in 1990 of permitting each program director to make a limited number of small grants for exploratory work with no external peer review.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Mccullough
    • 1
  1. 1.National Science FoundationArlingtonUSA

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