Proposals received through the Trust’s larger grant programs (>$5,000) are reviewed by a technical external peer review committee, called a Technical Review Committee (TRC), composed of individuals who are experts in their respective fields and representative of communities served.
External reviewers play a very important role in the Trust’s technical review process. TRC members rank and score applications based on the criteria listed in the Request for Proposals, and then meet to discuss application merits. The TRC then recommends a suite of applications to the Trust’s Board of Trustees.
In an effort to expand our pool of external reviewers and to identify new reviewers with the necessary expertise to serve as a TRC member the Trust welcomes applications from individuals who are interested in serving as an external peer reviewer. Potential reviewers must have one or more of the following areas of expertise:
- Stormwater management including but not limited to: watershed planning, site assessment, permits, design and construction, best management practice efficiencies, soil health, sustainability, and maintenance. Stormwater management is a broad subject area that includes green infrastructure practices such as stormwater retrofits (e.g., rain garden, bioretention, green roofs, etc.), living shoreline, stream restoration, tree planting, and more.
- Land conservation including easement establishment, maintenance, afforestation and reforestation.
- Social science, specifically social science theory and framework application. This includes but is not limited to community engagement, community based participatory research, social marketing, behavioral economics, and collective impact for network development.
- Environmental Education, specifically learner centered environmental education theory, environmental literacy planning, and teacher professional development.
- Capacity Building including organizational development, change, enhancement, and sustainability, and organization mergers. Capacity building refers to activities that strengthen an organization and help it better fulfill its mission. As capacity building can occur in every aspect of an organization, including programs, management, operations, technology, governance, fundraising, and communications, expertise in often sought in areas such as board development, communications planning, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice strategies, fundraising, and strategic planning.
The Trust will evaluate applications received based on expertise and qualifications represented in the application form and reserves the right to use only those applicants whose area of expertise is best fit for the Trust’s grant portfolio. Applicants cannot request to serve on specific TRC and cannot serve on any TRC for which an existing conflict of interest may exist (see more about conflicts of interest below). If your expertise is not listed above, please contact the Trust to verify eligibility prior to submitting your application. Applications submitted with expertise outside of these categories may not be eligible to serve as a reviewer. If selected to serve as a reviewer, all TRC members are asked to sign a conflict of interest and confidentiality form which can be viewed here.
Guideline for TRC reviewer selection
Guidelines for the selection of reviewers are designed to ensure selection of experts who can give Trust staff and other reviewers of the award program the proper information needed to make a recommendation in accordance with the award program RFP-approved criteria for selection of projects. Optimally, reviewers should have:
- Special knowledge of the science, engineering, outreach, community engagement, behavior change, environmental education, or other specific expertise expected in the suite of Trust RFPs that will result in the proposals to be reviewed. Reviewers must be able to review and assess application’s competence, intellectual merit, and utility of the proposed activity. Within reasonable limits, reviewers’ fields of specialty should be complementary within a reviewer group.
- Broader or more generalized knowledge of the science, engineering, outreach, community engagement, behavior change, environmental education, or other specific expertise expected in the suite of Trust RFPs that will result in the proposals to be reviewed. These reviewers must be able to evaluate the broader impacts of the proposed activity. Reviewers with broad expertise are required for proposals involving substantial size or complexity, broad disciplinary or multidisciplinary content, or significant Chesapeake Bay wide activity.
- Broad knowledge of the topics in the Trust’s typical RFPs in order to evaluate the application’s likelihood of success, appropriateness of the personnel/contractors in the application, distribution of resources related to the scope of work proposed, geographical areas served, etc.
- To the extent possible, diverse representation within the review group. The goal is to achieve a balance among various characteristics. Important factors to consider include: type of organization represented, reviewer diversity (see Trust policy on this above), age distribution, and geographic balance.
Submit the Interest Form
After you submit your application, the Trust will add you to a list of potential reviewers and although submitting the application does not guarantee selection, we will regularly review applications (at least once per quarter) and reach out to you if your expertise is requested.