A common way to handle grant applications seems to be to request external reviews, to which the applicant can then respond. Reviews and response together are discussed at a panel where the proposals are ranked, and the top x% then are funded.

I've found myself in a nice, but perplexing situation: I got back the reviews for my first grant proposal, and all reviewers gave top scores (and very positive comments). Now I'm wondering whether or not to use my right to respond - all information I could find about responses boil down to addressing criticism, but what do you do if there is no criticism?

Edit: The grant agency explicitly discourages using the reply to thank reviewers. The alternative option besides not replying at all could be to attempt to selectively agree with the most praising comments or something like that, but I'm not sure that is a good idea.

  • 1
    Beyond something generic like thanking the reviewers, not clear you need to do anything else.
    – Suresh
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 19:29
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    Did the reviewers give specific comments, or just scores? Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 20:04
  • Thanks for the comments, I've edited the question to clarify that there were specific comments, just no criticism.
    – Arno
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 20:11
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    In that case you can pass on a response. While I haven't had this experience, I've been in other situations where I had a "right to respond" and when the feedback was positive I merely waived my right.
    – Suresh
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


While it sounds that there would be no need to rebut against anything (I suggest to read the reports very carefully once again - some criticism can be hidden and is sometimes difficult to spot between positive comments) there may be another reason to formulate a response. It may well be that the reports contain valuable suggestions or remarks on specific points of your proposal. You can take the opportunity to pick up these suggestions and present new views or deeper explanations. However, I think that this really only makes sense if you have something new to say in view of the comments of the reviewer. I would suggest to not repeat what is already written in the proposal…


If there's no criticism to rebut, then waive the right to rebut.

If you've already received top marks with no criticisms, then you can only spoil things by saying something at this stage.

Just shut up. And enjoy the moment.

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