Introduction to reviewing proposals

When we receive a research proposal, we send a copy to at least three reviewers, including at least one nominated by the applicant. The reviewers complete their comments and return them to Research Councils UK Grants (RCUK Grants). The process is mainly electronic and carried out via the Research Councils' Joint electronic submission (Je-S) system.

Confidentiality

The proposal has been received by RCUK Grants 'in confidence'. This means that RCUK Grants and the councils have undertaken not to distribute it to third parties, other than to reach a decision on whether or not to fund it. Reviewers are asked to treat the application in the same way.

Anonymity of reviewers

To maintain anonymity when the reviewers' comments are passed back to applicants, reviewers' names do not appear on the form - only a reviewer reference number. This links the reviewer to the proposal and is unique to that application, not to the reviewer. If a reviewer receives more than one proposal, each will have a different reference number.

Our timescales allow three weeks for sending proposals to reviewers and receiving their comments. All reviewers' comments received in time will be seen at the peer review meetings with the reviewers' names included.

Feedback to applicants

For proposals that do not receive sufficiently strong support to be put forward to a funding meeting, investigators will be notified and the reviewers' reports will be posted to the applicant and the applicant's higher education institution's research office.

Proposals that receive highly supportive comments from at least two reviewers are submitted to funding prioritisation meetings. The reviewers' reports are passed back to the investigator via Je-S to comment on any factual inaccuracies or questions raised.

The investigator then has five days to respond to the reviewers' comments. Any response is submitted in confidence to the meeting.

All proposals considered at a prioritisation meeting that have not had postal peer review stage will receive written comments as feedback from the meeting.