I submitted a grant application a few weeks ago where I was asked to list some potential reviewers. One of these potential reviewers just invited me to give a talk at their university. I would like this potential reviewer to be able to review my grant application because I feel that they are knowledgeable in the field and would have a favorable view of topic in my application. By accepting this invitation, would I be creating a conflict for this potential reviewer? Should I not accept the invitation? Should I give a talk on a different topic than my grant application so as not to bias the reviewer?

2 Answers 2


It's the potential reviewer's responsibility to declare or avoid any conflict of interest, not yours.

If the potential reviewer isn't asked to review your proposal (or declines for other reasons) then there's no conflict of interest.

If the potential reviewer does end up reviewing your proposal and you've declined an invitation to speak at his institution that potential reviewer might hold it against you.

If you do accept the invitation, this wouldn't by itself be sufficient to create a conflict of interest that would prevent the potential reviewer from reviewing your proposal.

Thus I wouldn't hesitate to accept the invitation.

  • Yes. I also think that the "reviewer" may be taking advantage of you - trapping you into agreeing. Not necessarily, though. Maybe they just saw an opportunity to bring in someone knowledgeable. You also don't say (or probably know) if they know they were on your list of potential reviewers. In any case, there is no conflict of interest on your part here as the other party initiated the request.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 15:50

It's possible that this person was selected to review your proposal, has begun reading it, and thinks enough of your ideas to want to learn more. It's also possible that he wants to hear, in your talk, things that were already in your proposal --- the point here is that a reviewer is not allowed to use the content of the proposal for any purpose other than writing the review, but if he also gets the same content by another route, like your talk, then he can build on it (on his own or in collaboration with you).

In any case, I don't think your accepting the invitation and giving a talk would create a conflict of interest for the reviewer, even if your talk is on the same topic as your proposal.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .