The peer review process, a hallmark of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program, ensures that applicants are evaluated on academic, scholarly, and professional criteria. IIE coordinates this screening of Fulbright U.S. Scholar applications for the Fulbright Scholar Program. Applications recommended following the peer review process are then considered by the host country, the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and the U.S. Department of State (Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs).
What and when is peer review?
Peer review is when applications are evaluated according to the applicant’s background and proposed project by a committee of reviewers with relevant discipline knowledge and expertise. Applications are reviewed in an online review platform. Reviewers read all applications assigned to their committee, assessing them according to the review criteria.
September 15: U.S. Scholar Program application deadline
Late September through early October: Peer reviewers can access applications and begin reviewing.
Late October through mid-November: Peer review committees meet to discuss the applications, and to come to consensus on whether applications are recommended for further consideration. (Meetings will conclude prior to Thanksgiving.)
Meetings typically take place in IIE’s Washington, D.C. office.
Who can serve on a Peer Review Committee?
Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program peer review committee members reflect the diversity of the participants in the program. They are drawn from all types of institutions from across the U.S., and from the ranks of former Fulbright U.S. Scholar grantees. They are selected primarily for their professional and scholarly reputation in their fields, as well as their familiarity with the challenges and needs of lecturers and researchers abroad. Academic discipline, regional expertise, demographics, and other factors may be taken into consideration in determining the final composition of the review committees. (See Peer Review Application for more information)
Why Become a Peer Reviewer?
The work of the peer review committees is vital to the success of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. It is because of the great care that peer reviewers take while reviewing applications that we can ensure a fair selection of Fulbright Scholar Program grantees.
Enrich: Continue enrichment of your Fulbright experience by learning from other applicants in your field and giving back to the Fulbright Program.
Engage: Engage in a deeper way with the Fulbright Program and Fulbright Scholar Alumni.
Evaluate: Evaluate applications will expose you to ongoing projects in your discipline and help ensure the competitiveness of the Fulbright Scholar Program.
To recognize the time and commitment from each reviewer, IIE will provide a letter of acknowledgement to your administrators (or employer) following each review cycle.
Join a Committee
If you are interested in serving on a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Peer Review Committee, please see Peer Review Application for more information.
Thank you for your interest in serving as a peer reviewer for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Please note that IIE receives significant interest in participating in this process, and not all requests to serve on a peer review committee can be accommodated.
IIE/CIES strives to ensure committees reflect the diversity of higher education in the U.S. and participation in the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. There is a need for balance in the composition of committees in terms of level of seniority, university type, geographic location, and demographics. Prospective peer reviewers are identified based on recommendations from IIE board members, IIE staff, current and past peer reviewers, Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections, and individual self-nomination. Preference is given to alumni.
Criteria for Peer Review Committee Membership:
- Reviewers must possess a terminal degree in a relevant academic or professional field, such as Ph.D., MFA, or JD, and/or equivalent experience (at least five years of industry-related experience) for those outside academia (e.g., professionals, practitioners, artists).
- Reviewers must have at least five years of experience as a full-time faculty member or equivalent experience as a researcher or professional in a non-academic position. For academics, the rank of Associate Professor or higher is preferred.
- Reviewers must possess current knowledge of the field and have demonstrated professional growth, accomplishments, and recognition appropriate for their career stage. Evidence of accomplishments and recognition may include relevant publications, presentations, exhibitions, compositions, performances, institutional research support, grants and fellowships, thesis advising, teaching awards, etc.
- For some peer review committees, in addition to the qualification above, reviewers should have international experience. This may include a previous Fulbright grant, or other teaching, research, and/or professional experience in a country outside the United States.
To be considered for peer review committee membership:
- Review the criteria above to ensure you qualify
- Complete the Peer Review Survey
- Email your current CV or resume to [email protected]
The peer review team at IIE will be in touch on the status of your request. If you are selected and approved to be a reviewer, pending your availability, more information will be provided.
Terms of Appointment
Prospective reviewers are vetted by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Social Science Research Council (SSRC). Once approved, reviewers are appointed for a three-year term. Academic discipline, regional expertise, and demographics may be taken into consideration in determining the final composition of the review committees. All reviewers read and evaluate all of the applications assigned to their respective committee.
Reviewers may not apply for a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grant in the same year in which they are serving as a peer reviewer.
Peer Reviewer Testimonials
Dr. Abigail Firey
"It was a real honor to serve. I felt I was repaying part of the enormous debt I owe to Fulbright for so many riches: friendships, professional contacts, and intellectual development. I also loved seeing the exciting scholarship that is going on in so many fields. The applications are all genuinely interesting, and I learned a lot. Thanks for the privilege and opportunity."
Professor Arlene Kanter
"My participation on the Peer Review Committee has been a highlight of my post-Fulbright Experience. First, I learn a great deal from reading the applications and am humbled by the creativity, intellect, and different competencies and experiences of the applicants. Second, I very much enjoy our review committee discussions. I enjoy hearing my fellow reviewers' comments and feel fortunate that we complement each other in our respective expertise and focused reading of the applications. Finally, I enjoy working with the wonderfully competent, energetic and professional Fulbright Staff."
Dr. Mahyar Arefi
“Overall, I find this experience very insightful in my own career development. You get to see what the best scholars and researchers in the country are working on, become familiar with their research agendas, and their scholarly priorities.”
Professor Cid Pearlman
“It was interesting to see the breadth of my colleagues' interests and to consider how receiving a Fulbright Award could impact their teaching, scholarship, and career. Equally interesting was considering the needs of the institutions and their students. I look forward to participating again next year.”
Dr. Andrew Giarelli
“Once I got into it I found it truly rewarding in several ways. It helped me see where and how I fit, especially as an independent scholar, within my discipline of American Studies. It gave me tips and ideas on how to apply for other American studies fellowships. Most importantly, it energized my commitment to the Fulbright experience: I would like to continue and deepen my involvement with the program.”
Dr. Maxine Sample
“Serving as a peer reviewer is a tremendous faculty development opportunity because I have a chance to see what other universities are doing or have done to internationalize their institutions. I learn much from the discussions when the reviewers come together as well. The peer review experience is informative in providing insight into the program standard as well as the program's latitude for flexibility and creativity in meeting that standard. The experience also gives a different perspective of the review process. For example, as an applicant, the perception is that the reviewers are looking for a way to say NO, which is not the case. Finally, the experience takes me out of my institutional and discipline silo, which is a good thing. Being a proponent of interdisciplinarity, I enjoy having a glimpse into how other disciplines see their role in globalizing student learning.”
Professor Abdul-Majeed Azad
“Stimulating. Having availed the opportunity of being a Fulbrighter, it was an honor to serve as a Discipline Reviewer in the case of deserving future Fulbrighters. In addition to the applicants in my area of expertise and overlap, there were interesting themes from others as well, which was quite interesting.”
FAQs | Peer Review
- How many applications will I review?
- How much time should I spend on each application?
- When does my term begin and end?
- Can I still apply for a Fulbright Grant?
- Are there other programs that seek peer reviewers?
1. How many applications will I review as a Peer Review committee member?
As the application numbers vary each year, this cannot be determined precisely until the application deadline has passed and applications are assigned to committees. However, committees can typically expect to review between 40 and 55 applications. Peer reviewers review all of the applications assigned to their committee.
2. How much time should I spend on each application?
Peer reviewers typically spend 30-45 minutes per application. As regional peer review committees typically meet in person, regional peer reviewers also need to commit time to travel to and from Washington, D.C. for an all-day meeting.
3. When does my term begin and end?
Peer reviewers are asked to serve a term of three years. This is subject to change depending on several factors, including the applicant pool. Each year, IIE conducts a needs analysis, comparing the overall pool of applications to the awards available; committees are formed to ensure broad representation of the applicant pool. If a reviewer is not needed in a given field for a particular year, their term may be extended for an additional year. IIE also understands that the reviewer’s availability may change from year to year, and asks that returning reviewers contact us as soon as possible if they will not be available.
4. Can I still apply for a Fulbright Grant as a reviewer?
No. Peer reviewers for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program may not submit an application for a Fulbright Scholar award until the next academic competition following completion of their service. For example, they may review applications in 2019 (for the 2020-2021 competition) and may next apply in 2020 (for the 2021-2022 competition). Peer reviewers may resign from service to prepare a Fulbright application.
5. Are there other programs I can review for, such as the International Education Administrator Seminars?
Some programs, such as the International Education Administrator Seminars have different (later) deadlines, and committees are convened to review those applications. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in reviewing for one of these awards; preference is given to Seminar alumni.