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Committee meeting

Each Committee has a Chair and Deputy-Chair who attend all three annual Research Committee meetings.

In addition the Committee is supported by:

  • A core membership of between 20 and 30 members of which half attend each meeting
  • Pool members who attend meetings on an invitation basis

Core and pool membership will differ between each Committee meeting reflecting the expertise required to assess the portfolio of grants into each specific round. The number of pool members assigned to a Committee depends on the number of applications and the diversity of expertise required. Pool members will not outnumber core members.

New Committee members are appointed following open advertisement by the Appointments Board, which considers inter alia applicants' expertise and standing within the community.

Assessment process

Research Committees assess applications against the following criteria:

  • Scientific excellence
  • Strategic relevance
  • Industrial and stakeholder relevance
  • Economic and social impact
  • Timeliness and promise
  • Value for money 
  • Staff training potential

In conjunction with assessment of the science, the committees are also required to:

  • Judge the ability of the researcher to carry out the proposed programme
  • Comment on the relevance of the work in relation to the remit of the Council and the strategic priority areas
  • Examine the level of resources requested
  • Take into account the track record of established applicants in terms of final report scores and publications
  • Review data sharing plans
  • Address ethical and social concerns, including animal usage

At the meeting Introducing Members (IMs – assigned Committee Members) give an overview of the application, highlighting its merits and any potential problems. Discussion is then open to other members who wish to comment. After the discussion the Chair will agree the overall rank with the committee.

The ranking system is used:

  • To identify applications that are internationally competitive versus those that are not
  • To prioritise competitive applications to aid the determination of the funding cut-off for each round

The committee is asked to comment on the level of resources requested only for applications likely to be within the funding range.

In some cases the committee may recommend conditions to a grant or invite a resubmission.


At the end of the meeting office staff will produce a draft rank-ordered list. The committee will finalise the ranking, especially those falling close to the likely margin for funding. The final rank order represents the consensus view of the committee taking into account all of the assessment criteria not just the preliminary assessment of the IMs.


SSC pre-award application processing

tel: 01793 867126