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Scientific Review

Important.pngAll information on this page is part of the GIF Guidelines, which are binding for all applicants and grantees.
For your convenience, you can download a full version of the GIF Guidelines in 
                  PDF format here.


1. GIF’s three layer process of evaluation

The German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development has established itself over the last two decades as one of the most influential scientific foundations for funding joint academic research. It is highly appreciated by scientists all over the world. This is reflected not only in the high submission rate and quality of proposals, but also by the fact that leading scientists throughout the world provide the GIF Scientific Board with expert reviews, ensuring the high quality of proposals funded. Our Grantees include Nobel Laureates and other winners of prestigious prizes.
During the peer review process, many of the proposals submitted are evaluated as outstanding or excellent. The final funding decisions follow the thoroughly and carefully considered ranking of the proposals as described below. The number of Grants allocated each year is determined by the availability of funds, which to our regret usually does not permit us to fund all outstanding and excellent proposals. Applicants in such cases are encouraged by us in the review feedback to resubmit the proposal.
In the evaluation process, GIF employs three scientific layers to ensure that the most deserving proposals in each cycle are funded. The layers are: reviewers, the scientific advisory committees and the scientific Board members.
In order to match the most suitable reviewers to each proposal, all proposals are categorized into scientific fields and are assigned to scientific committees. Each committee consists of scientific advisors who have broad expertise in the required scientific area.
GIF’s Scientific Advisors are members of the German and Israeli scientific communities, appointed upon recommendation by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).

According to decision by the GIF Board of Governors, the GIF Scientific Advisory Committees are entitled to recommend to the GIF Scientific Board Members not to accept a proposal for further processing, based on the scientific merit, novelty and originality of the proposal in comparison with the other proposals within the relevant Scientific Committee. 
Any recommendation not to accept a proposal for further processing will be based on the unanimous agreement of all the members of the relevant Scientific Advisory Committee.

The final decision regarding the proposals not recommended for further processing will be taken by GIF's Scientific Board Members (November of the year of submission). 

Applicants whose proposals were excluded from further processing will receive an email informing them about the decision.

For all proposals accepted for further processing, GIF’s Scientific Advisors recommend expert referees from Germany, Israel, and other countries for detailed peer review of each proposal.

According to a decision by the GIF Board of Governors,
  • Each proposal in the GIF Regular Program should be evaluated by at least 3 reviewers.
  • Each proposal in the GIF Young Scientists’ Program should be evaluated by at least 2 reviewers.
The GIF scientific administration sends the proposal to as many reviewers as needed to meet the requirement of the Board.
GIF advisors work in full transparency within the committee. If a conflict of interest arises, the relevant advisor immediately reports about it and a different advisor steps in. This is the common practice in GIF as in many other scientific funding agencies.
Important Note.pngGIF always honors the requests of applicants NOT TO SEND their proposal to certain referees. However, it is up to the Scientific Advisors to instruct the GIF
whether to approach the reviewers that were suggested by the applicants.
Upon completion of the peer review process, the members of the GIF Advisory Committees analyze the referees' evaluations and rank all proposals in their respective field according to scientific merit. At the final stage of the committee work layer, all advisors in the committee jointly prepare their final suggestions for ranking of all the proposals. These final recommendations by all committees are submitted to the GIF Scientific Board Members. The suggestions serve the Scientific Board Members in taking their final decisions.
Decision-making by the GIF Board of Governors is not a simple matter. Taking the decision about the ranking consumes a lot of thoughtfulness and deliberations, while taking into considerations all factors involved.
After deliberations at their annual meeting, the GIF Board of Governors make their decisions. The GIF Board of Governors decisions are final
GIF is committed to prompt evaluation of submitted proposals. Our submission and review processes are fully electronic. GIF treats the full process starting with the submitted proposals through the peer review process as confidential. The identities of reviewers and the scientific advisors are not released.

2. Criteria for review

The Research proposals submitted to the GIF are evaluated according to the following criteria (please note that there some differences between the programs):
  1.  Originality & innovation.
  2.  Importance & implications.
  3. Adequacy of methods.
  4.  Suitability of investigators scientific background to the project.
  5. Mode of cooperation between the teams (GIF Regular Program) /Feasibility for future cooperation (GIF Young Scientists' Program).
  6. Budget
    • Adequacy of the overall budget
    • Adequacy of salaries
    • Budget Equipment (if applicable): Is the specified equipment, in all its parts,
       essential for the project?
  7. Summary (strengths / weaknesses) of the proposal.
Download.jpgSamples of the GIF evaluation form:
 GIF Regular Program
GIF Young Scientists’ Program

3. Review process’ feedback

Shortly after the annual Board of Governors meeting, in the 4th week of June, a letter with the Board of Governors decision (approved or disapproved) is sent to all applicants. Within a month after the annual Board Meeting, usually in the second week of July, GIF sends the reviewers' comments (Part A of the review) to all PIs whose proposal was not approved for funding.
As mentioned above, our peer review process is confidential and identities of reviewers are not released.
 Important Note.pngAs mentioned above, unfortunately, usually the situation is such that the foundation
 has more deserving proposals than available resources. On rare occasions we receive complaint letters from applicants who feel that since their proposal received good reviews, it should have been awarded a Grant. Although we sympathize with them, we kindly ask you to keep in mind while reading the reviewers remarks that the two upper layers of the GIF’s evaluation process, the Scientific Advisory Committee and also the Scientific Members of the GIF Board of Governors had all the material (that includes all full proposals, all full reviews, all full grading, rankings and justifications by the Scientific Advisory Committee) before them when making the recommendations and while taking the decisions. This includes also a final ranking of preference for proposals graded as outstanding or excellent.
The decisions of the GIF Board of Governors are final.
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