WMS Grant Scoring Criteria
(updated 9/1/2022)

WMS grant review scoring is modeled on the NIH scoring system. Each grant will be scored based on 5 specific criteria and will also receive a “Potential impact on wilderness medicine practice” and “Potential impact on applicant" scores. 

Scoring criteria and instructions: 

All scoring will be performed on 9 points Likert scale. A score of 1 indicates an exceptionally strong application with essentially no weaknesses. A score of 9 indicates an application with serious and substantive weaknesses with very few strengths. Please review the scoring table below: 

Impact Score Descriptor/Additional guidance on strength or weakness 

High 1 Exceptional/ Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses 
High 2 Outstanding/ Extremely strong with essentially no weaknesses 
High 3 Excellent/ Very strong with some minor differences 

Med 4 Very Good/ Strong but with numerous minor weaknesses 
Med 5 Good/ Strong but with at least one moderate weakness 
Med 6 Satisfactory/ Some strengths but also some moderate weaknesses 

High 7 Fair/ Some strengths but with at least one major weakness 
High 8 Marginal/ A few strengths and a few major weaknesses 
High 9 Poor/ Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses 

Each review criterion should be assessed based on how important the criterion is to the work being proposed. 

An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have a major impact, e.g., a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field. Weaknesses are graded on their deleterious effect on the individual criterion or overall project. 

Scoring Criteria: 

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? 

Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If novice investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance, and organizational structure appropriate for the project? 

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed? 

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility, and will particularly risky aspects be managed? 

If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed? 

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment, and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements? 

Potential impact on wilderness medicine practice: 
Likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved. 

Potential impact on the applicant: 
Likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the grant applicant’s research career. 

Each component of the new impact score will be worth equivalent points. The grant with the lowest overall score after the grant review by the members of the Research Committee will be funded.