A new grant funding program announced by the National Science Foundation on Wednesday (November 9) will seek to support innovative, interdisciplinary research projects. And it will choose winners without the traditional external peer review process. Instead, scientists applying to a grant through the Creative Research Awards for Transformative Interdisciplinary Ventures (CREATIV) initiative will only have to demonstrate their work's merit to NSF program managers.
In order to even submit a CREATIV grant, which will award up to $1 million over 5 years, researchers must get written approval from at least two NSF program managers. The agency will then determine whether the proposal is worthy of funding in only 2-3 months, half the time it takes to learn the fate of a regular, peer-reviewed NSF grant proposal. Richard Behnke, co-chair of the NSF committee that designed CREATIV, told ScienceInsider that though the new program eschews traditional external peer-review, CREATIV grants will represent less than 2 percent of the agency's overall research budget. "For the great majority of proposals, we will continue the traditional merit-review process," he said. "The gold standard remains in place."