Conflicts of interest - MRC

Managing conflicts of interest

The integrity of peer review is of paramount importance. This means that any personal interests as a reviewer or board or panel member must never influence, or be seen to influence, the outcome. We consider that a conflict of interest exists where:

  • the applicant is a close friend or relative
  • you are directly involved in the work the applicant proposes to carry out
  • you may benefit financially from the work (for example if you are involved with a company acting as a project partner)
  • you work in the same research organisation as an applicant, co-applicant or project partner
  • you work closely with the applicant, (for example, as a co-author or PhD supervisor), or have done within the last five years.

This is not an exhaustive list. So if you believe you may have a conflict of interest or are in any doubt as to whether or not you should review an application, please contact us It is important that you ensure you are eligible to review the application before undertaking the review.

Managing conflicts for board and panel members

During a board or panel meeting, if a board or panel member has a conflict of interest with an application, the member would be asked to leave the room for the entirety of the discussion and would not participate in the scoring or ranking of the application.

Where a member is an applicant or could be seen to benefit financially from the outcome, the member would, additionally, not be able to view any of the paperwork relating to the application concerned.

Last updated: 16 February 2023

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