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Sent to reviewers

Reviewers selected

Applications are initially sent to at least 4 reviewers, normally including no more than 2 of the 4 reviewers nominated by the applicant, plus at least 2 selected by the programme managers or suggested by introducing members.

When selecting reviewers these general rules are applied:

  • Conflicts of interests are avoided - the reviewer must not be from the same institution/organisation as any of the applicants or collaborators
  • Normally only one reviewer from a particular institution would be used on an application
  • Applicants can request that specific individuals are not approached to review their applications and, wherever possible, the Office endeavours to respect their wishes*
  • Applicants should provide reasons why they do not wish their applications to be sent to the individual in question*
  • Reviewers' comments remain anonymous

Additional reviewers may be approached if initial reviewers decline or if the application is large and/or multidisciplinary.

* Both the request and the reason not to use a specific reviewer should be noted in the cover letter submitted with the application.

Applications sent to chosen reviewers

Applications for research grants undergo assessment of research quality by UK and overseas experts in the field from academia, government or industry. Reviewers provide qualitative comments on the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the application against the following assessment criteria:

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

Reviewers reply within 3 weeks, although shortened deadlines are (by necessity) given to additional reviewers approached close to the date of the committee meeting. Reviewers that have not responded are automatically sent a reminder once their deadlines have been reached.

The office prioritises obtaining 2 or more review assessments for each application. Where an application has no review assessments prior to the committee meeting (or only one assessment for large/multidisciplinary applications) the applicant will be asked to decide whether the application should still be considered at the meeting or deferred to the following one.


SSC pre-award application processing

tel: 01793 867126