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Virtual Panelist

Please note: Policies on this page reflect those of the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, NOT the entire National Science Foundation.

The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships uses Zoom software to facilitate virtual panel review. Please review the guides below to acquaint yourself with the process.

If you are selected and confirmed to serve on a virtual panel for the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP), you will be asked to participate via an online conferencing application (Zoom). We want this experience to be as simple and rewarding for you as participating on a face-to-face panel at NSF. In order to achieve this goal we are providing some critical information below that you need to review prior to the scheduled panel date.

The NSF Conflict-of-Interest and Confidentiality Statement for NSF Panelists must be read and signed prior to participating on a virtual panel. Please print and sign the COI Form and scan/email it to the NSF staff person that invited you to review. If necessary, you can fax the COI form to 703-292-9057. In the field “Panel Name” please clearly indicate the Panel ID (PXXXXXX).

Panel Day Instructions Please join the panel at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to ensure that you have time to connect to the Zoom meeting and trouble-shoot any IT issues. If you encounter any IT issues, immediately contact the NSF staff that sent you the Zoom invitation.

Keys to Successful Participation in a Virtual Panel for TIP at NSF:

  1. Submit signed COI form prior to the day of the panel.
  2. PC with Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browser. *Macs are also acceptable
  3. Telephone setup that enables you to use your hands to take notes and navigate through FastLane, Zoom, and other applications while participating in the panel such as a speakerphone or headset. Note: If you are using a speakerphone, you must be in a secure area where others cannot overhear the confidential panel discussions.
  4. Web Camera connected to your computer is strongly recommended.
  5. NSF discourages the use of mobile devices due to poor quality of communications (noise, drop calls, unintelligible signals, etc.).
    To ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the NSF review process, you MUST ensure that panel discussions are not overheard by anyone else besides you. Closed doors and/or headset are strongly recommended. Similarly, it is imperative that no one else can see your computer screen showing the working of the panel.

**Merit review guidelines Fastlane instructions for panelists can be found at: Review process.

Additional Notes

  1. It is OK to modify review/s during the panel, including changing the rating. It is essential that your ratings be consistent with your comments. For example: if you feel the proposal is Excellent, you should list more strengths than weaknesses (and vice versa).
  2. All modifications to your reviews must be submitted in FastLane before the panel concludes. *Do not login to FastLane and make any changes to your reviews or panel summaries after the panel concludes, unless requested to do so by NSF.
  3. The assigned “Lead” reviewer will introduce the proposal and make comments first during the discussion.
  4. The assigned “Scribe” reviewer will take notes during the discussion, summarize the panels’ comments and draft the “Panel Summary” after the discussion is complete. *Do not merely repeat individual reviewers comments, but rather capture salient points brought out during the discussion.
  5. The Panel Summary Template will be provided by an NSF staff person via email prior to the meeting.

Specific questions regarding the panel review process should be directed to the NSF Program Director.

Technical Problems with FastLane?

Send an e-mail to or call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm Eastern Time.