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Peer Review

ORAU brings decades of experience in scientific peer review and merit review for agencies and organizations of all sizes.

Each year, federal and state agencies as well as major foundations award billions in dollars to research proposals and projects deemed to show the most promise. The goal is always to award funding to the most deserving proposals. But how can these organizations effectively decide which proposals are the best? The most time-tested and widely accepted method is peer review.

What is peer review?

Peer review is the evaluation of scientific work by subject matter experts from the same or a related field. The evaluated work may be among other things, a proposal to conduct scientific research, ongoing research itself or a submitted paper based on ongoing or completed research. The peer review process involves selecting experts in the same field as the proposals to evaluate, comment, and score proposals based on their knowledge of the subject and understanding of the impact each proposal would make if funded.

Peer reviewer

What we offer

  • Multiple decades of experience in all aspects of scientific peer review and merit review
  • A fully-integrated peer review management system (PeerNet)
  • Broad experience in using other online peer review management systems
  • Ability to conduct reviews, workshops and meetings of any size
  • Ease-of-use in managing reviews from start to finish or managing any component
  • Vast network of full-vetted experts in many professional disciplines
  • Low cost and high efficiency in all phases of the peer review process
  • Management of all travel, honoraria and other arrangements for expert panels
  • Simple-to-use contracting options
  • Facilitator and subject matter experts engaged in peer review

    Why choose ORAU?

    For those who are tasked with conducting peer review on behalf of their agency or organization, the process can be daunting and often costly in both dollars and time. When an organization needs only a few reviews on an infrequent basis, it can also be a very inefficient process.

    That’s where ORAU has the ability to take the entire process, or any part of it, and manage it with the efficiency and cost-effectiveness that only comes with having conducted thousands of reviews of all sizes.

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    ORAU's peer review process

    • Planning the review
    • Identifying the experts
    • Conducting the peer review
    • Managing the information
    • Coordinating workshops
    • Implementing improvements
  • Peer review staff assists subject matter expert

    How we can help

    Is your agency or company involved in proposal evaluation that requires peer review? If so, ORAU can support your efforts by conducting a full-scale review that we manage from beginning to end, or by taking responsibility for any of the review’s component parts.

PeerNet Fact Sheet Cover


PeerNet™ – Proposal Evaluation Management System

PeerNet logoWhile many peer review management systems exist, only ORAU’s PeerNet™ was built by peer review professionals based on decades of real-world experience and thousands of pieces of customer feedback.

Since its release in 1997, PeerNet™ has served as the online peer review management tool for more than 1,162 reviews. With each release PeerNet has introduced new features designed to further streamline and improve the review process.

The latest release (2018) includes a new Reviewer Interface as well as a new Proposal Collection module to help organize all the documents associated with each review.

While PeerNet™ specializes in traditional peer review, it has the flexibility to assist with all kinds of reviews and evaluations. View our fact sheet and contact us today to learn about how PeerNet™ might be able to meet the needs of your upcoming review.

Already a PeerNet user?

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Peer review participant using PeerNet web-based application

Florida’s Zika crisis supported by ORAU's peer review programs

In three months, half the time a typical peer review is routinely executed, ORAU evaluated 81 research proposals, from which seven grants were awarded on topics such as support for a Zika vaccine, innovative diagnostic testing and therapeutics, and treatment options for children and adults.

Read More

Our Experts

Jody Crisp

Jody Crisp

Expertise: Project management, performance measurement, budgeting, contingency planning, sponsorship development, conflicts of interest resolution, quality assurance

  • Peer review project manager for more than 500 DOE Office of Science peer review projects since 2002
  • Community volunteer, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, Anderson County, Tennessee
Tim Ledford

Tim Ledford, M.B.A.

Expertise: Project management, scientific peer review, gap analysis, risk assessment and mitigation, quality assurance

  • Project manager for peer review and other projects for the Office of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, and Defense Programs of the National Nuclear Security Administration and other programs in DOE-SC
  • Task lead, 500+ peer review and other projects for DOE, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies
Keri Cagle, M.S.

Keri Cagle, M.S.

Expertise: Peer review operations and project management, government contract compliance, process improvement, systems development, collaborative leadership and team building

Cagle is an astute business leader with an innovative mindset to use technology to revolutionize processes at ORAU. Her sponsorship of the redesigns of key systems such as PeerNet and Zintellect demonstrate her technological ability and essential collaboration and communication capabilities.

Certifications: Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Internal Auditor, Master Certification in Government Contracting

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s research, reviews and evaluations, contact Keri Cagle at 865.241.3804 or