The core values of the peer review process drive this program. It is intended to encourage the highest level of ethical standards in a process that is fair, equitable, timely and free of bias. The first level of review is carried out by scientists and other experts who provide their expertise within the program's focal areas. This first level peer review process is organized independently and in parallel by the Higher Education Commission in Pakistan and by the U. S. National Academy of Sciences along with USAID and DoS according to the following criteria:
A. RELEVANCE TO PROGRAM OBJECTIVES (25 points max):
The extent to which the proposed project furthers one or more of the following objectives:
- Improving the quality, relevance, or capacity of education and research at Pakistani institutions of higher education in science and technical fields;
- increasing the capacity of science and technology to improve the well-being of the Pakistani people, including (but not limited to) such topics as basic education, health, health security, nutrition, water/sanitation, environment, and economic development;
- improving the capacity of Pakistani institutions to support industry competitiveness through public/private partnership and entrepreneurship.
Note: Projects deemed not relevant to any of the program objectives will be ineligible for support and need not be evaluated further.
B. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL MERIT (25 points max):
- Scientific importance, clarity, and specificity of the proposed project;
- Technical feasibility of carrying out project in proposed timeframe and likelihood of achieving objectives;
- Compliance with environmental, human subject, animal study, and/or chemical hazards protocols as applicable.
C. CAPABILITIES OF PARTNER INSTITUTIONS AND INDIVIDUALS (20 points max):
- Professional background and achievements to date, including significance of publications;
- Demonstrated ability to carry out proposed project based on past activities;
- Recognition from peers, professional societies, and other institutions;
- Potential for future scientific achievements and/or commercialization.
D. NATURE OF COLLABORATION (20 points max):
- Expected benefits to the Pakistani and U.S. participants and their institutions;
- Prospects for long-term collaboration following the completion of the current project;
- Appropriateness of match between the expertise and backgrounds of the participants;
- Demonstrated commitment of the proposing partners to ensuring the participation of women in the project.
E. COST EFFECTIVENESS OF PROJECT (10 points max): Appropriateness of the proposed budget.
COMMERCIAL VIABILITY AND TECHNOLOGY (10 bonus points max):
- The type and strength of patent claims;
- Significance of market need and opportunity;
- Is there a clear path to a commercially viable product or technology transfer;
- Probability of attracting additional funding from other sources (industry, government, investors, etc.).
Strategies to achieve project objectives should be feasible and realistic within the projected budget and timeframe. Proposals should include plans for effective dissemination of project findings to researchers, policymakers and relevant stakeholders (for example: industry, business community, etc.).
(i) Funding Criteria: Following the initial, parallel peer review processes on the U.S. and Pakistani sides, applications that have received favorable recommendations will be reviewed by a joint panel composed of sponsors from the U.S. and Pakistan. Consensus by this panel determines final funding decisions.
There is no predetermined number of, or funding level for, proposals to be funded. The panel may reduce project budgets if sufficient funds are not available to support the application at 100 percent of the proposed funding level. The funding decisions of the proposal reviewers and the joint Pakistan-U.S. panel shall be final and binding.