Is there such a thing as a non-biased grant review?

Is the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) turning down deserving research proposals because of potential biases in the grant-review process? The answer may be yes, if preliminary findings of an experiment being conducted by NSF officials holds up.

A recent study described in science magazine, cites one researcher who was ranked highly only by a set of reviewers only in the case where her name was withheld from them.  She concludes: "The current system is definitely a 'a buddy system' where it's not what you know but who you know, where you work, and where you publish. And the rich get richer".

Ouch. Has it gotten that bad at NSF gotten? Maybe so. But at least it is still less biased than NIH...

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