Peer reviews - STFC


Conflicts of interest guidance (reviewers)

If you have been asked to provide a review for an STFC proposal, the following guidance will help you determine whether you have a conflict of interest you would want to declare.

It is vital that reviewers are seen to be completely impartial. You should not, therefore, take part in the review of any proposal where you perceive there is a conflict of interest. We accept that it is likely that academics who work in the same field may know each other, and this doesn’t therefore bar you from commenting on a proposal. Most of our peer review forms contain a confidential section on conflicts of interest, where this information can be declared.

However, if your knowledge of or relationship with the applicant is such that you feel it would be difficult to be impartial when commenting on the proposal, then please decline the review selecting ‘conflict of interest’ as the reason. If you are unsure whether to decline on the grounds of conflict contact for advice before doing so.

Examples of conflicts

You are at the same or proposed higher education institution or research organisation as the principal investigator or any co-investigator.

You are at an organisation that is a project partner or that of a visiting researcher on the proposal.

You are named as a participant on the proposal, for example as an investigator, staff member or project partner.

You have a close family relationship (spouse, partner, parent, sibling, child) or share a household with the principal investigator or any co-investigator.

You stand to gain a financial or professional advantage from a particular outcome for an application you are asked to review.

You have written a letter of support for the proposal.

You have had a PhD or PhD supervisor relationship with any of the applicants in the previous 10 years (fellowships only).

You are at the applicant’s proposed organisation i.e. the organisation of the proposal (fellowships only).

You are at an organisation where the candidate has a current application for a non-STFC funded position (fellowships only).

Last updated: 28 February 2022

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