Internal Peer-Review Process

With a view to improving grant application success rates, internal peer-review will be managed and coordinated by the Research Management Office in consultation with the Director and Deputy Director of the School.

Applications Subject to Review

It is compulsory for all funding applications led by UGLA (SCMH) in excess of £100,000 to be reviewed. First stage or outline bids are excluded. Notwithstanding, there may be grant structures that preclude internal peer-review e.g. applications involving extensive networked contributions. These should be discussed with the Project Coordinator.

Criteria and Selection of Reviewers

Pertinent applications will be required to undergo peer-review by at least two academic colleagues within the School. Peer reviewers are selected either by request from the applicant or nomination by the Research Management Office (at the request of the applicant). Reviewers are drawn from award holders and grant panel members. All academic staff and some senior postdoctoral researchers (Grade 8 and above) are expected to participate in the peer-review process.

Format of Review

All requests for review are logged by the Research Management Office which is kept confidential to those involved in the process. Reviewers - nominated by either the PI or Research Management Office - will be passed the close-to-final draft scientific proposal and proposed budget to examine and assess scientific quality, importance, fit to funding scheme, originality and value for money before submission to the funder.In the former (reviewer nominated by applicant), applicants are responsible for contacting and sending their nominated reviewer a copy of their application requesting constructive feedback. The reviewer will be expected to complete and return their review to the applicant within 14 days of receipt of the request. It is advised, where applicable, that applicants contact nominated reviewers in a timely manner when submitting a request to undertake review. One-to-one feedback is also encouraged, particularly in the case of early career researchers.

Timing of Review

The review is undertaken when the application is close to a final draft - preferably at least 3-4 weeks ahead of the application submission deadline or as agreed with the reviewer. This timetable will give sufficient time to incorporate feedback and meet the University’s administrative deadlines for grant submission. If the reviewer recommends that the proposal requires major amendments s/he can suggest that it is reviewed for a second time. The Research Management Office will log that the appropriate process has been followed, and will record reviewer activity to ensure equitable workload distribution among reviewers, where possible.


The Research Management Office will also carry out ‘post-mortem’ analyses on unsuccessful grants as well as capturing knowledge on successful applications. We hope to learn lessons from analysing reasons for failure although we are mindful that failure to secure funding is not always a true reflection of scientific merit. We therefore propose to capture reviewers’ feedback from the peer-review of proposals and any additional comments from the funding agency, for both successful and unsuccessful applications, to allow us to assess reasons for failure as well as success, thereby informing future proposals. The impact of the current peer-review process and ‘post mortem’ analysis on application success rates will be monitored and evaluated, particularly in view of the new mentoring process to be implemented across the School.