We appoint experts from the UK and overseas with recognised expertise in the relevant areas of research to review applications independently of other applications. A review is based on the reviewer’s judgement of the assessment criteria alone, and should not normally benchmark the assessment against other applications of the funding opportunity.
Reviewers are expected to have peer recognition or established expertise in the field to review the application, and are often able to provide input from specific areas of expertise not directly covered by the panel. Reviewer comments and scores are part of the evidence that a panel member has available to help provide an objective and informed assessment.
The membership of peer review panels is chosen to span the scientific remit of the panel and is decided in consultation with the community, usually following a call for nominations. STFC attaches great importance to ensuring that conflicts of interest among panel members and reviewers are disclosed and managed.
STFC recognises the importance of objectivity in making funding decisions and in ensuring that this is done fairly, transparently and without bias. To support the safeguarding of objective decision-making, the following documents cover the expectations that we have of our peer review panel members and chairs and the role we expect them to fulfil. They also cover the role of STFC staff and what our panels can expect from us along with the principles we set for peer-review meetings: