All of our reviewers use our online system to read, score and comment on the proposals. Each scoring criteria is assigned a score on a five point scale. These scores are averaged for an composite score. The project team is a yes/no response. We also ask for an overall score, which includes the recommendation to “Do not fund”. The criteria, and questions provided to the review panels are outlined below. After the individual review panel members score the proposals, the information is aggregated for the review panel conference calls and discussion. It is also provided to the board of directors.
Historically each criteria has been weighted equally. With the 2020 RFP the board decided to revise the weightings. The new weightings are identified below.
1. Producer Involvement, 10%
Is there confirmation that the barriers this project addresses were identified by farmers as high priority?
Is there evidence that sufficient numbers of farmers are involved in at least some of the following activities: proposal development, project advisory committee, project implementation, outreach, and information dissemination, and project evaluation?
2. Relevance to NY Agriculture, 20%
Is the problem, or opportunity that the project seeks to address a critical one for New York farmers?
Will the project, as presented, effectively address the identified barrier or opportunity in a significant way for the betterment of NY agriculture?
Does the project, as described, have a high probability of success?
3. Work Plan (Performance Targets, Milestones, and Activities), 20%
Are the performance targets specific, clearly stated, and measurable at the farm or enterprise level?
Are the milestones measurable and when they are achieved will they move participating farm businesses toward the stated performance targets?
Are the activities to be undertaken appropriate for reaching the milestones and achieving the performance targets?
Is there enough detail provided to evaluate the rigor of the research design?
4. Outreach Plan, 15%
Is there a practical and well organized plan for how the information gained from, or materials developed for, this project will be disseminated to the broader agricultural industry?
Are the activities in the outreach plan likely to be effective in creating change?
Is the outreach plan innovative?
5. Evaluation Plan, 20%
Is there a clear and effective plan describing how individual farm or enterprise level impacts will be measured, collected, and verified?
Is there a plan to track or estimate changes in the broader agricultural industry that resulted from the project’s outreach efforts?
How much confidence do you have that the proposed evaluation plan can be successfully executed and will result in useful information?
6. Budget, 15%
Is the budget reasonable and appropriate for the importance and value of this project to the crop it addresses?
Is the total budget appropriate to the size and scope of the project?
Are the individual budget line amounts reasonable and realistic?
Are the justifications for each budget line clearly stated, adequate, and acceptable?
If there are labor charges, do the tasks outlined justify the labor budget?
Project Team, evaluated on a confidence/no confidence basis
Are the descriptions of individual’s roles sufficient to understand what each will be doing in the project?
Is it clear that the qualifications described for each individual relate to and match their role in the project?
Are you confident that the combined knowledge, skills and abilities of the team are adequate to successful complete the project?
Do you believe the size and diversity of the project team is appropriate to the size and scope of the project?