Information About Our Peer-Review Process and Grants for Diabetes Research

Welcome to our frequently asked questions for reviewers page. On this page, you will find helpful information about our peer review process, grant information, and details for members of the scientific review committee. Click any of the plus signs below for answers to many of our frequently asked questions for reviewers.

General FAQs

The Diabetes Research Connection was established by a group of experienced diabetes researchers who were concerned over the scarcity of funding for innovative, discovery-stage science.

We created a crowdfunding platform to connect ambitious early-career research scientists with potential donors so they could launch innovative diabetes research projects as quickly, and with as little bureaucracy, as possible.

The Diabetes Research Connection facilitates up to $50,000 in seed funding to young scientists to perform one-year-long experiments in the categories of Cure, Care, Complications or Prevention. Scientists who manage to establish proof of a concept are positioned to leverage it to apply for larger grants from major funders.

This crowdfunding model empowers donors to influence the direction of diabetes research, diabetes prevention, and a type 1 diabetes cure while providing a platform for young scientists to promote and pursue innovative ideas. Through social networking, we connect investigators with sponsors – hence the word “Connection” in our name.

All reviewers are selected by Diabetes Research Connection’s Internal Scientific Committee and its Board of Directors. Our 80+-person Scientific Review Committee is comprised of eminent diabetes researchers. Our Layperson Committee is a group of well-informed non-scientists who have diabetes themselves, or have a family member or friend who is affected by the disease. Together, these committees provide rigorous peer-reviews to assure our donors of the scientific validity and exciting potential of the projects they hope to fund. Diabetes Research Connection reviewers foster the connection between young scientists and donors.

Our reviewers offer valuable skills and expertise to make a meaningful contribution to the organization’s mission. If you are an established diabetes researcher, you are naturally concerned about the continuity of exploration in your field – and you know how difficult it is for young researchers to secure funding for anything beyond the most conventional projects. If you are someone who is affected by diabetes, you look at innovative investigations as a source of excitement and hope.

Applicants for Diabetes Research Connection grants are the next generation of innovators, and you have the power to make a positive impact on their future. This is your chance to leave a legacy, to make a difference. We are deeply grateful for your participation.

There are three phases to our review process.

When Diabetes Research Connection receives a one-page Letter of Intent, we screen it for completeness and then send it electronically through our grant management system to all members of our Scientific Review Committee for a Phase 1 review.

Every member of the committee is asked to read the Letter of Intent and approve or reject it based on the quality of the basic concept.

If the proposal is approved, it proceeds to Phase 2 where the applicant is invited to submit a detailed three-page Grant Application.

In Phase 2, we select three reviewers who are specialists in the applicant’s area of investigation to independently review the Grant Application. These specialists approve or reject it based on the NOVELTY, SCIENTIFIC MERIT and FEASIBILITY of the proposed science, as well as the applicant’s ability to perform the study.

If the proposal is approved by two out of three reviewers, it is approved for funding and proceeds to Phase 3.

In Phase 3, approved grantees create a website presentation to “sell” their idea to donors. Members of our Layperson Committee – people who represent our donor demographic – work with scientists on their presentations to be sure that non-scientists can comprehend them and will be inspired to donate to them.

The Diabetes Research Connection invites applications from graduate students, post-doctoral Fellows, Instructors, Assistant Professors (or their equivalent at research institutions) and other pre-tenured scientists who propose novel, early-stage diabetes research.

Your own associates, as well as personal acquaintances, are welcome to apply as long as you recuse yourself from all aspects of the decision-making process pertaining to their applications.

We have created a crowdfunding platform where young research scientists showcase their approved concepts to potential donors – people visiting our site who are looking relentlessly for solutions to type 1 diabetes. Our Layperson Committee helps grantees create website presentations that are both comprehendible and compelling to non-scientists in order to optimize their chances of reaching their fundraising goal.

Whenever possible, Diabetes Research Connection will supplement funding to support deserving projects that are falling short of their fundraising goal.

Miscellaneous FAQs

Three years. Shorter terms may be possible on request.
We administer the entire review process through a user-friendly grant management system. Phase 1, the one-page Letter of Intent, should take less than half an hour to read and cast a yes/no vote. If asked to review a three-page application (Phase 2) due to your particular expertise, you will likely spend one to two hours reading and thinking about it. We do not require a detailed written review, merely your yes or no vote, however all comments are useful and welcome. Particularly if you vote against a proposal, we encourage you to write a few lines explaining your concerns. This will be helpful to the other reviewers and the applicant.

In Phase 3, members of the Layperson Committee will be asked to look at and comment on website presentations and should expect to spend an hour or so on each.

Applicants are advised that once they post descriptive materials on the Internet, their work is in the public domain, viewable by your colleagues and competitors. The Diabetes Research Connection does not accept any responsibility for confidential information released to the public via postings on its website, or for information submitted by scientists seeking research support.

All reviewers are asked to sign conflict of interest, confidentiality, and non-disclosure agreements when they join the panel.

Membership is by invitation only. If you are interested in participating on a committee, submit an inquiry with CV to ckalberg@diabetesresearchconnection.org.

For Members of The Scientific Review Committee

We estimate that that we will send out up to 50 LOIs a year. Because we use a rolling review process, members of the Scientific Review Committee will never be deluged with LOI’s at any time.
Kindly submit your vote within one week after we send a Letter of Intent to you.
Whether or not you have expertise in the precise area of the project, we ask you to focus solely on the basic concept and vote to approve or reject it based on NOVELTY, SCIENTIFIC MERIT and FEASIBILITY. We do not expect detailed reviews of the science, competitive rankings or written critiques. However, if you do have constructive input you wish to share with the applicant, we will gladly forward it along anonymously.
After receiving notification that the Letter of Intent was approved, the applicant is asked to submit a three-page detailed Grant Application, and Diabetes Research Connection forms a Specialty Advisory Panel to review it. This panel is comprised of three members of the Scientific Review Committee who have expertise in the particular area of the proposed research.
This panel assesses Grant Applications based on the NOVELTY, SCIENTIFIC MERIT and FEASIBILITY of the science proposed, as well as the applicant’s ability to perform the study, and either approves it rejects it. Panel members who reject the application are asked to provide explanations and recommendations to the applicant – things they like as well as suggestions on how the applicant might modify the proposal for re-submission. This feedback is passed along anonymously.
It depends on how your area of expertise matches the proposed projects. We estimate we will ask for your participation in this important step five to 15 times a year. As with the Letter of Intent, our rolling review process assures you will not be deluged with Grant Applications at any time.
Please submit your vote (and your explanatory paragraphs if you rejected the application) within two weeks after we send the application to you.
The investigator will submit a progress report at six months and a final report after the project is completed. We ask members of the grantee’s panel to read these reports and, within two weeks’ time, provide a brief written commentary. Your response to the interim report might offer guidance on ways to adjust the project. Your response to the final report might include comments on the conclusions derived from the data, and suggestions on how to proceed in terms of further studies, publications and funding.

While the Specialty Advisory Panel optimizes the investigator’s research experience and outcomes, it also ensures that donors who sponsor projects based on the panel’s endorsement receive full value for their contribution.

Send any questions you have about this initiative to Christina Kalberg at ckalberg@diabetesresearchconnection.org or phone 844-484-3372.