Ask the Trustees
I recently submitted a let of intent for one of your programs and got the response that it wasn’t accepted. I understand that not all can be accepted, but the response didn’t provide any information about why that decision was made. This is frustrating and doesn’t help researchers understand what you’re looking for.
We are grateful to everyone who submits a letter of intent to our Another Look-Improving Health of Older Adults in Care Facilities and Greater Value Portfolio programs. We have attempted to keep the LOI requirements to a minimum; the maximum word count is 1,500 for the Another Look program and 1,000 for the GVP program. Yet even with those word limitations, we recognize that completing and submitting an LOI is a significant effort – particularly when we also require that you describe who the stakeholder or partner organization will be.
We wish that the Foundation staff had time to provide feedback to all who submitted an LOI to each program. Unfortunately, the volume of LOIs we receive doesn’t make that possible. We try to keep the number of invited applications to no more than four times the number of available awards, yet we receive many more LOIs than that. In some of our GVP cycles, where we usually can make only four awards, we’ve receive more than 100 LOIs.
Here’s the process that we use to review LOIs. First, Foundation staff reviews each LOI to ensure that it meets the program requirements. Then the LOI is reviewed by two or three experts in the related field of research and practice. Reviewers give a score to indicate whether they believe an application should be invited and provide a brief comment to help staff understand the reason for their score. Because we want to give as much time as possible for applicants to develop their applications and for reviewers to conduct their reviews (nobody want a cranky reviewer who feels rushed!), we use a fairly tight timeframe to complete LOI reviews and get answers back to each person who submitted one. This means our LOI reviewers don’t have the time to compose carefully written feed-back. And given the volume of LOIs, we don’t have enough staff time to construct a suitable response from these brief comments.
Although this doesn’t address the desire to have information about why an LOI doesn’t yield an invitation to submit an application, we are pleased to be able to provide full written comments to each person who submits an application. Our reviewers prepare their critiques with this in mind. Therefore, each applicant will receive comments from three reviewers whether their application results in an award or not.
We are always striving to make our program descriptions and LOI and application instructions as clear as possible. However, if you have suggestions as to how we might be able to improve upon those materials, we hope you will get in contact with us to let us know your suggestions.