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Peer Reviewing for C-DICE fellowships – a key skill for academic careers and a valuable insight into writing proposals.  profile photo

Peer Reviewing for C-DICE fellowships – a key skill for academic careers and a valuable insight into writing proposals. 

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At C-DICE, we want to make sure that postdoctoral researchers get the opportunity to develop the skills needed for the next step in their careers.  

Peer review, the evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by those in the same or similar field, is an activity that those pursuing an academic career will certainly encounter. This may be for fellowships, conferences, journals, research funding calls etc.  

Through the C-DICE fellowship call, C-DICE created an opportunity for postdoctoral researchers to get involved with the peer review process and join a fellowship peer review panel. As a member of the panel, the postdoctoral researchers got to see the peer review process first hand as well as contributing to the outcome. This provided a valuable experience and an inside view of how peer review works.  

One of the postdoc peer reviewers on the panel said of the process “as a panel member, my responsibility is to review fellowship grant applications based on the standard assessment criteria which involves topic and project specific guidelines. I’ve been chosen as one of the 3 reviewers of the 4 grant applications. As a part of the review panel, I’ve received a great support from the C-DICE team and senior academics. The C-DICE peer-reviewer training webinar has given an opportunity to learn about the review process, strategies and best practices. Furthermore, it was very interesting to see how the grant proposals are written, the importance of detailing and planning.  

Ravi Pullepudi, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Warwick, said: “It’s a great learning experience to be a C-DICE peer reviewer. The C-DICE peer review committee is a diversified group of panel members involved in reviewing of the research fellowship applications.  

“The best part of my role as a reviewer is to see the best way of expressing ideas and supporting them with an appropriate technical information and a perfect execution plan. Peer reviewing is a good opportunity to get insights into the review process and improve your application writing skills. Thank you, C-DICE team for a wonderful opportunity.” 

Mert Gulcur, another researcher at Warwick, commented: “Being involved in reviewing activities for the C-DICE fellowship has been a great opportunity for me to see and evaluate excellent ideas from diverse research fields. As a Lead Engineer in micro-manufacturing and prototyping, I was able to see the interfaces of different research areas which shows the interdisciplinary aspect of the C-DICE programme.  

“What I liked most about this activity is that the proposal ideas came from the early career researchers directly for obtaining an individual fellowship and the programme is very ‘fellow-centred & focussed’ in general. The programme, reviewing process and proposals addressed the core values and objectives for delivering high-quality research such as interdisciplinary mindset, mobility, collaboration, and career development. I highly recommend early career researchers or postdocs to apply for the programme or become a reviewer for C-DICE.” 

C-DICE will be launching a further call for fellowships in September 2022. Postdocs who perhaps aren’t quite ready to submit an application may want to consider peer reviewing. It’s a valuable insight into writing good proposals as well as being an effective peer reviewer.  Further details will be available in the autumn. If you would like to be involved in the peer reviewing process, email enquiries@cdice.ac.uk 

Many thanks to Ravi Pullepdi and Mert Gulcur (postdocs at the University of Warwick) for their contributions to this blog. 

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