Peer review principles

Peer review is the heart of our business: all funding decisions are based mainly on expert advice from members of the College of Peer Reviewers. Peer review ensures integrity and consistency to a robust, quality process for all EPSRC funding initiatives by following a number of principles:

Transparency Assessment criteria and details of the peer review process are published before applicants submit proposals.
Appropriateness A peer review process appropriate to the proposed research, and in proportion with the investment and complexity of the work is used.
Managing interests All participants are asked to declare interests when carrying out peer review activities so conflicts can be identified and managed. Please see the EPSRC conflicts of interest policy.
Confidentiality Proposals are treated in confidence, and we ask those who advise us to do the same.
Expert assessment Expert peer reviewers, mainly from EPSRC’s College, assess the individual merit of all proposals against published criteria.
Prioritisation Proposals that receive positive reviews are ranked for funding by assessing their merit against others.
Right to reply Principal Investigators have the right to reply to reviewers’ comments before proposals are prioritised.
Separation of duties Peer review of a proposal is separated from its funding decision: EPSRC staff make funding decisions based on peer review advice, but those acting as peers will not also be responsible for authorising its funding decision.
No parallel assessment Multiple parallel assessments of a proposal’s relative merit are avoided.
Fairness Peer review processes used will be unbiased and not influenced by gender, ethnicity or any other protected characteristic, demonstrating EPSRC's commitment to equality and diversity. (Protected Characteristics covered by law are age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.)

These principles apply to full proposals assessed through our Standard Research funding, calls for proposals, and all grant schemes that are peer reviewed. They do not apply to schemes like Doctoral Training Partnerships, which are calculated using an algorithm.

If there are any exceptions to these principles, EPSRC will clearly publish them when the call or scheme is established.