Once submitted, most applications go through a two-stage assessment process, consisting of external peer review and internal board or panel assessment.
More information on how we select peer reviewers, our assessment criteria and carrying out peer review can be found on our peer review pages.
Following external peer review and dependent on the funding opportunity, your application may go through triage. During triage, it will be decided if your application is competitive for funding. Those that are competitive will go to the funding meeting and the rest will be rejected.
Please refer to the ‘how we will assess your application’ section of the funding finder opportunity you are applying to for details on how your application will be assessed.
Responding to peer reviewer comments
If your application is chosen to go to the funding meeting, most funding opportunities offer researchers the chance to respond to peer reviewers’ comments. Your response will be considered by our expert board and panel members, and will not be seen by the external peer reviewers.
By providing a considered, objective response, you are more likely to reassure board and panel members that you can deliver what you propose, and improve your chances of getting funded. Board and panel members will consider how well applicants have addressed any concerns raised by the reviewers and will consider any additional evidence provided within the response.
Whilst you cannot control what the reviewers say, you can control how you respond. See our tips for addressing review comments below.
Keep calm and stay positive
You may receive positive or negative reviews, or a mixture of both. Don’t dismiss a reviewer’s comments. Take time to provide an explanation to reassure the board or panel that you’ve considered their comment, address any concerns and refer to sections in your application if needed.
Keeping a calm, measured and non-argumentative tone will show you are open to feedback and can take it on constructively. We recommend you ask a trusted colleague to check what you have written before submitting.
Only include relevant information
Only include information that adds value to your argument and clearly addresses the points of the reviewer. Avoid using blanket statements. Where appropriate, use references to peer-reviewed publications to correct any factual inaccuracies.
Structure your response in a systematic way using clear headings
Use the reviewer reference to help the board or panel navigate to the reviewer you are responding to. If multiple reviewers have identified a common issue, you can respond to these comments together and may want to consider explaining it in a different way. It is important to be clear and analytical.
View this as an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge
Use the review response to clarify experimental approaches and add new supporting data. If you have new data that will allow you to respond to a comment, include this for the board or panel to see or provide a link if the data is published.
Don’t waste words thanking reviewers, or copying or rephrasing their comments
The board or panel have already read your application and peer reviewer comments.
Keep to the formatting guidelines
Responses should be in A4 format, written in a minimum of 11 point font (Arial or equivalent), with a minimum of 2 cm margins and meet the page limit requirements. We will return your response if it is not within the formatting guidelines.
Last updated: 25 August 2022