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PEERS Structure Overview

Who Can Apply to This Program?

The PEERS program is designed for early career faculty actively developing competitive NIH career development or research proposals (K and R-series, respectively) for submission in the next 6 to 9 months. It is expected that individuals applying for participation in PEERS will have a proposal that is in at least the mid-stages of concept development in order to maximize the impact of peer and workshop mentor faculty critique of working aims. This will be assessed qualitatively from working abstracts submitted with the application.

How Is the Program Structured?

Each PEERS Workshop will be a focused analysis of writing techniques associated with one NIH grant component, and will incorporate a staggered peer-mentor-peer critique format. Two small-group sessions will be held for peer-feedback on a working grant document. For each workshop offering, participation will be capped at 6 participants. In between these sessions, group members will meet one-on-one with their assigned workshop mentor (see below) who will also provide writing critique. Time will be allowed for document revision according to peer and mentor comments. Please see program curriculum for further details.

The peer-mentor-peer format is intended to broaden the scope of objective commentary provided to each participant, and encourage interactive learning and candid discussion on evolving pieces of writing. A PEERS Workshop may be preceded by a linked informational session.

How Are Mentor-Peer Pairs Determined?

Prior to formal acceptance for participation in PEERS, eligible applicants will be asked to identify an independently-funded senior faculty member at the Professor level who can confirm their willingness to participate as a “workshop mentor.” Each workshop mentor will be asked to:

  • Provide a one-time review and commentary on the Specific Aims page for one group member.
  • Commit to a 1 hour meeting (remote or in-person) to discuss their comments with the author.

Mentor-peer pairs will be assigned by mixing-and-matching group members with workshop mentors in the available pool for that particular offering. Please note, the mentor confirmed by the applicant will not be the mentor to whom that applicant is ultimately assigned. The intention is that each participant, to the fullest extent possible, be matched with an objective faculty member to broaden the scope of writing critique.

The involvement of the participant in recruiting workshop mentors is deliberate. This not only ensures an adequate pool of senior faculty expertise for workshop activities, but also builds the support base and network for the early career investigator. The mentor will be formally recognized for their participation by the Office of Research Development as having provided service for promotion and tenure.