The National Science Foundation (NSF) released its annual Report to the National Science Board (NSB) on its merit review process. Packed into this report are data and trends on all aspects of its review process for fiscal year 2011. From the Executive Summary:
“In FY 2011, NSF received a total of 51,562 proposals. This is a decrease of about 7% from the number of proposals received in FY 2010, but an increase of over 61% from the number of proposals received in FY 2001.
“The Foundation made 11,192 awards in 2011, resulting in a 22% funding rate.
“The Foundation exceeded its “time to decision” goal of informing at least 70% of Principal Investigators (PIs) of funding decisions within six months of receipt of their proposals. In FY 2011 78% of all proposals were processed within six months.
“Proposals are externally reviewed by three methods: panel only, mail + panel, and mail only. In FY 2011, 62% were reviewed by panel only, 28% by mail + panel, and 7% by mail only.