The mission of the AIBS SPARS division is to provide the highest caliber review and support services that enable organizations to make informed decisions and focus on the important goals of the science at hand. Our efforts generally fall into two categories: Peer Review and Organization Support.

Peer Review

AIBS SPARS facilitates peer review throughout a research program’s life cycle. Our most common review activities can be grouped into three general categories: Proposed, Ongoing, and Retrospective. Below is some further information on these common activities.

Review of Proposed Research

Formats of review...

Including online review, online conferral, teleconferences, and onsite panel meetings, can be integrated and tailored to meet an organization's specific review needs. For example, online conferral can be implemented before a teleconference or an onsite panel meeting.

AIBS SPARS regularly facilitates expert reviews of proposed research (most often in the format of proposals, but also material such as protocols and curricula). These types of reviews help organizations decide which research is the most meritorious and what the potential problems might be, providing insight into the expected impact of the proposed research and how the research might further programmatic goals. There are several different formats in which we conduct peer review:

  • Online (using our proprietary SCORES system)
  • Online with Conferral (using our proprietary SCORES system with online messaging between reviewers)
  • Online with Teleconferences (using our proprietary SCORES system with interactive reviewer teleconference discussions)
  • Panel Meeting (using our proprietary SCORES system with in-person panel discussions)

Review of Ongoing Research

AIBS SPARS manages reviews for currently funded research efforts. This includes annual grant reviews, program reviews, and department reviews. These types of reviews offer organizations expert insight into research progression, achievement of milestones/deliverables, potential problems and recommended solutions, continued or extended funding decisions, and personnel and equipment requirements. Common attributes of ongoing research review panels are:

  • Standing panels for multi-year reviews and progress assessment
  • Panel expertise in exit strategies (FDA submission, commercialization)
  • Recommendations on research management structure
  • Panel expertise in leveraging resources for multiple groups

The formats for these types of review follow the same general approach as the reviews of proposed research (they can be conducted online, via teleconference, in-person, or through any combination of these formats, all using our SCORES system).

Review of Research Retrospectively

AIBS SPARS conducts retrospective reviews of research activities. These often include evaluating initial goals and total progress made, reviewing individual or departmental multi-year progress across various projects, and providing recommendations on future program/department directions. Common retrospective peer review activities include:

  • Peer review for publication of research results
  • Preparation of compendiums for whole programs, departments, or a grant

Organization Support

AIBS SPARS offers support services for a wide range of program activities, from developing a specific funding opportunity to supporting organization management teams. We have the experience and expertise to support a wide range of programs and organizations. Below are some common services we provide.

RFP Development

Whether an organization is implementing a funding opportunity for the first time or wants to reformat the parameters of an existing program, AIBS SPARS has the experience and skill to develop and prepare a request for proposals (RFP) or program announcement. In our 50 years of facilitating peer review, we have worked with many types and formats of these documents. We apply lessons learned from implementation of countless programs and help structure documentation for maximum clarity and effectiveness.

Review Criteria

Common review criteria:

Hypothesis, Research Strategy, Outcomes, Schedule, Budget, Personnel, & Environment

As with our expertise in RFP development, AIBS SPARS works to structure and frame a review in order to obtain exactly what is needed from peer review for a specific organization. We create reviewer evaluation forms that are tailored for the specific needs of programs (e.g., focusing on commercialization, clinical safety, impact, innovation, etc.) and facilitate assessment of the review criteria that are important for the specific program, thereby maximizing the usefulness of the peer review process to the organization.

Review Facilitation

Most of AIBS SPARS' efforts revolve around the ultimate goal of facilitating a review to inform funding or other programmatic decisions. We have extensive experience in organizing and executing all manner of review processes and formats. Our staff knows what steps are needed and how to optimally manage reviews to produce the best and most consistent products. Standard operating procedures are used to ensure high-quality services. Further, AIBS SPARS is able to rely on the experience, expertise, and tools of our IT and meetings management staff to optimally and successfully execute a peer review project. More specific information on assessment approaches can be found at Peer Review.

Reports & Analysis

Quality is continually assured through the use of post-review statistical analysis. Scores and standard deviations, reviewer demographics, and other review metrics are recorded over time and analyzed for trends. These data are not only useful for improving our processes but are also useful for our clients as valuable input into their programmatic decision-making processes. Feedback is also collected from clients and peer-review participants and used to improve the peer review process.

Leadership Support

We understand the large amount of time and work required to manage and execute scientific research programs. For many clients, we have served as the administrative support for research boards, executive committees, and senior leadership involved in overseeing research programs. Our services include facilitating meetings, coordinating program activities, and preparing and distributing reports. This allows leadership to focus on the important scientific issues at hand and the critical long-term aspects of the research program, while we coordinate the essential day-to-day administration of executive program management.