Application Review

Policies and Procedures

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) is charged with the three-fold mission of enhancing life sciences competitiveness, improving health, and fostering economic development in Washington. LSDF addresses its mission by soliciting the best new ideas from Washington's investigators through a competitive process and investing in the most outstanding projects after rigorous external review and evaluation. Expert reviewers study the proposals, weigh their strengths and weaknesses, and deliberate collectively to rate their potential to achieve LSDF's goals. Summaries of the reviews and funding recommendations are submitted to LSDF’s Board of Trustees, who rely on this information to make the grant award decisions.

Excellence. LSDF grant programs have been designed to promote excellence and maximize the benefit to the citizens of Washington. Expert evaluations, applied in an objective manner, lead to funding of the highest quality projects. LSDF’s grant programs are consistent with the granting practices typically used by public and private sponsors of research. They are conducted in the public interest, striving to ensure that public dollars are invested in life sciences research and development with the greatest potential for public good.

Expertise. At the heart of LSDF’s due diligence process is review and critique of grant applications by experts within the life sciences, both at the scientific/technical and the business/commercialization levels. Reviewers are carefully chosen for their specialized knowledge and typically work in groups to ensure that multiple perspectives are presented. The give and take within the group during the evaluation process greatly enhances the depth and quality of the reviews.

Objectivity. Expert reviewers are screened to ensure that they can contribute an impartial opinion. Reviewers must disclose any ties they have to LSDF grant applicants and sign conflict of interest statements, certifying that their consideration of applications is not biased by any personal or professional interests. A strict process of recusal is employed if any conflict of interest is reported.

Confidentiality. Grant proposals often contain the most imaginative and innovative thinking of researchers, and it is precisely that level of thinking that LSDF hopes to foster in making awards. Proposals may contain intellectual property or other information of proprietary or economic value. Consistent with the practice of federal and private granting programs and with the provisions of Washington’s public records law, LSDF affords its grant applicants a high level of confidentiality during the submission, evaluation, and selection process.

Proprietary information is kept confidential. Reviewers sign confidentiality agreements protecting both the content of applications and the review process. When award selections are announced and LSDF funds committed, grantees are identified, descriptions of their applications are published, and periodic summaries of their research progress are released. Proprietary information from unfunded applications is not made public. 

LSDF Policies Related to Grant Application Review:

Life Sciences Discovery Fund Confidentiality Policy adopted May 8, 2007, revised October 15, 2012
Life Sciences Discovery Fund Conflict of Interest Policy on External Reviews adopted May 8, 2007, revised October 15, 2012
Life Sciences Discovery Fund Conflict of Interest Policy Regarding Donorsadopted September 18, 2007

Guidance for LSDF Expert Reviewer Interactions with Applicants and Grantees adopted January 18, 2012 

Policy on Appeals of LSDF Proposal Review adopted April 21, 2014

Apply (or Nominate a Colleague) to be an Expert Reviewer

LSDF convenes external experts with direct experience in the commercialization of technologies within health-related sectors to assess grant applications. Click here for a list of LSDF expert grant reviewers.

LSDF recruits new grant reviewers year-round through an open application process. Click here to apply or nominate a colleague, or email programs@lsdfa.org for more information.