University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

Research proposal review procedures

All proposals for new experimental/manipulative or otherwise complicated research at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve will be reviewed by the Cedar Creek Research Review Board, which will decide if the proposal is approved, denied, or must be modified for reconsideration. No research may be initiated until a proposal has been reviewed and approved. Ideally, any grant application seeking funding for experimental/manipulative research at Cedar Creek should be submitted for approval to the Cedar Creek Research Review Board before submission to any funding agency or organization. Such prior approval would eliminate uncertainties about the suitability of the planned research for Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

The policy articulated here is instituted to provide speed, consistency and reliability in the review process. It is our goal to complete the review process within 10 days of electronic submission of a proposal. Exceptions to this 10-day interval may occur if complex questions or issues arise during the review process.

All proposals for new experiments at Cedar Creek are to be electronically submitted to the Information Manager.   The format for a proposal includes an Abstract (250 word maximum) and is given at

Upon receipt, the Associate Director will examine and categorize each proposal according to whether it represents (A) Extensive destructive sampling, experimental manipulations, the potential for lasting impacts, or the potential to impact existing studies or areas zoned for protection; (B) Minor manipulation and/or observation without lasting effect on the habitat or on other existing studies; or (C) Work that is obviously outside the scope of what is permissible at Cedar Creek or outside the scope of Cedar Creek’s mission.

Those research proposals in Category C will be returned forthwith with an explanation from the Associate Director to the author(s), with a copy of the proposal and correspondence sent to the Director and to the Research Review Board.

The Associate Director will immediately electronically send a copy of any proposal in Categories A or B to all Cedar Creek researchers, including Review Board members. All Cedar Creek researchers will have a chance to submit comments (especially any comments on potential conflicts with existing projects) to the Associate Director during the next 5 days after proposal submission.

After consideration of any comments received on a proposal, those research proposals in Category B may be approved by the Associate Director without further review.

Comments on those research proposals in Category A will be distributed to all members of the Research Review Board (except not to a member with significant conflict of interest, i.e., if the proposal was written by that member or that member’s student or post-doc, etc.) for consideration as part of the formal review process. Within seven days of the time of submission of a proposal, each member of the Board and the Associate Director will write a brief review of the proposal, and will tentatively recommend approval, rejection, or modifications. A proposal receiving a majority of Board recommendations for its approval will be approved unless the Associate Director feels that the review process has raised issues that should be addressed. The Associate Director may request further discussion by the Board, or modifications to the proposal by its authors, and one or more additional rounds of voting after receiving modifications and/or after discussion.

If the Board has significant questions, suggestions, or objections that lead to a recommendation for modifications, copies of the reviews will be sent back to the researchers with a cover letter requesting clarification or revision. If modifications are requested, the review process may well exceed the original time goal. Modified proposals receiving a majority of Board recommendations for approval will be approved.

Anyone whose proposal was rejected has the right to request reconsideration by the Research Review Board after providing it with responses to review comments and a modified proposal. The Board will provide a decision that articulates the basis of its decision in relation to Cedar Creek Land Use Policy. Anyone whose proposal is rejected after this process may petition the Director of Cedar Creek for reconsideration, providing additional comments and/or modifications to the research plan.