Introduction to reviewing proposals - EPSRC

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 UK Research and Innovation Grants. The process is mainly electronic and carried out through the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system or the UKRI Funding Service, which will gradually replace Je-S during 2023.


The proposal has been received by UK Research and Innovation Grants ‘in confidence’. This means that UK Research and Innovation 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.

Journal-based metrics

We are committed to support the recommendations and principles set out by the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). You should not use journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an investigator’s contributions, or to make funding decisions.

For the purpose of research assessment, please consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets, software, inventions, patents, preprints, and other commercial activities) in addition to research publications. You should consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.

The content of a paper is more important than publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which it was published, especially for early-stage investigators. Therefore, you should not use journal impact factor (or any hierarchy of journals), conference rankings and metrics such as the H-index or i10-index when assessing UKRI grants.

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 through Je-S or the Funding Service to comment on any factual inaccuracies or questions raised.

The investigator then has 14 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 a postal peer review stage will receive written comments as feedback from the meeting.

Last updated: 10 August 2023

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