The main role of college members is to provide reviews of discovery science research proposals (grants and fellowships) and to participate in discovery science panel meetings. However, members may also be asked to assess proposals to other NERC schemes, or advise on funding policy and process development.
College members are active researchers in the environmental science community, who are familiar with the NERC funding assessment process. The majority are academics based at universities. However, applications are also welcomed from members of the research user community who are active in environmental science research from a policy or applied perspective and have strong interests in NERC science and its use and impact.
What assessing proposals involves
The peer review process generally consists of two stages. For small investments or outline proposals, assessment is likely to be by a panel only.
Internationally recognised experts considered to have expertise relevant to the proposal are invited by NERC to undertake proposal reviews. For discovery science proposals the majority of experts approached are members of the NERC Peer Review College. Applicants have the opportunity to nominate reviewers, and where possible some of these are also approached to comment. Proposers are given an opportunity to respond to comments provided by reviewers.
Discovery science panels meetings are formed from the college. Half of the membership of any panel regularly attends as core panel members, and there is an identified chair. Other members are selected from the college according to the particular proposals being considered.