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Research article "Are numerical scores important for grant proposals’ evaluation? A cross sectional study" MSCA ITN 2019 and 2020 calls

Published on | 4 months ago

Programmes MSCA  

Background: In the evaluation of research proposals, reviewers are often required to provide their opinions using various forms of quantitative and qualitative criteria. In 2020, the European Commission removed, for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks (ITN) funding scheme, the numerical scores from the individual evaluations but retained them in the consensus report. This study aimed to assess whether there were any differences in reviewer comments’ linguistic characteristics after the numerical scoring was removed, compared to comments from 2019 when numerical scoring was still present.

Methods: This was an observational study and the data were collected for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Networks (ITN) evaluation reports from the calls of 2019 and 2020, for both individual and consensus comments and numerical scores about the quality of the proposal on three evaluation criteria: Excellence, Impact and Implementation. All comments were analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program.

Results: For both years, the comments for proposal's strengths were written in a style that reflects objectivity, clout, and positive affect, while in weaknesses cold and objective style dominated, and that pattern remained stable across proposal status and research domains. Linguistic variables explained a very small proportion of the variance of the differences between 2019 and 2020 (McFadden R2=0.03).

Conclusions: Removing the numerical scores was not associated with the differences in linguistic characteristics of the reviewer comments. Future studies should adopt a qualitative approach to assess whether there are conceptual changes in the content of the comments. (Taken from the abstract)

Buljan I, Pina DG, Mijatović A and Marušić A. Are numerical scores important for grant proposals' evaluation? A cross sectional study [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. F1000Research 2023, 12:1216 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.139743.1)

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The Flanders-based company Septentrio contributed substantially to completing this objective together with the other ROOT partners. The results of the project partially close a gap in the security of telecommunication networks dependent on satellite-derived time, with indirect benefits in curbing illegal attempts to disrupt network services.