NERC has announced a number of changes to its peer review process which aim to ‘strengthen and streamline’ the assessment of responsive mode grants.
The changes, which have been made in response to community feedback in order to increase confidence in the process, will:
Involve more established academics and grant holders in peer review.
Set, monitor and support consistently high standards of contributions from all College members.
Ensure all proposals receive a defined and uniform level of peer review from experts with high or medium expertise.
Remove the ‘sift’ so that all Standard Grant proposals follow the same review process with the opportunity for applicants to respond to reviewer comments.
Make funding decisions more quickly for Standard Grant proposals.
Give moderating panels more consistent membership and more stable scientific remits.
Raise the quality of feedback from panels to applicants.
The changes will apply to responsive mode research grant and fellowship calls with closing dates on or after 1 October 2013. Processes for the July 2013 Standard Grant call are unchanged; the first Standard Grant call following the new process will be in late January 2014.
The main changes relate to consistency of review number and expertise and the standard grant process.
Consistency of review number and expertise
For each scheme minimum and optimal number of peer review reports required have been agreed; these are detailed in the assessment process. The reviews will be provided by a combination of NERCCollege members and internationally-recognised experts.
Standard grant process
There will no longer be a ‘sift’ or triage to reject uncompetitive proposals and all proposals will reach the stage where there is an opportunity to respond to review comments. Proposals, reviews and responses will be assessed by two panel members who will assign a ‘pre-score’ for excellence. The Chair will then prioritise the proposals to discuss at the moderating panel. NERC will aim to provide decisions on the majority of Standard Grant proposals within 20 weeks of the closing date.
Changes will also be adopted in the running of moderating panels and feedback, with further changes expected to be made to theNERC Peer Review College from January 2014.
Do you need expert advice on a research proposal? The next bid writing surgery will be held on Thursday 14 February.
Dr. Martin Pickard (Grantcraft) is an external consultant employed by the University of Lincoln with over 25 years’ experience in writing and advising on grants and tenders for EU and other funders. He has worked extensively across Europe with a number of universities, research institutes and industrial firms, and provides a bespoke bid writing support service for external research funding applications.
Martin’s monthly bid writing surgery will give staff an opportunity to access his 25 years of experience in supporting bids for external funding. Availability is limited. Contact Research and Income Generation Support if you wish to book an appointment to speak to Martin about a bid to any funder. Each appointment lasts around 45 mins to 1 hour.
The Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) wishes to support independent-minded researchers to do interdisciplinary work which is unlikely to be funded by existing funding bodies. It is interested in original research ideas which take new approaches, and suggest new solutions, to real world social problems.
The Foundation intends to make a small number of awards to support original interdisciplinary research, across the range of the social sciences, to be held from a start date no later than the end of December 2014. Scholars from within Europe are eligible to apply.
The award is intended to enable a scholar at the early career stage to pursue his/her research full-time, for a period of up to 12 months. The amount will be offered to buy out the costs of replacing all teaching and associated administration in the applicant’s home institution, and will be considered to a maximum of £50,000 per successful applicant. Within that sum, reasonable support for research expenses may be considered on a matched-funding basis with the host institution.
The applicant should normally hold a salaried position at an institution of higher education and research, and be within 10 years of PhD award. Career breaks may be taken into account.
Applicants should consult the Criteria as set out in the Further Particulars (see link below) and show that they meet them. Applicants should follow the Application procedure and should present their Proposal in the format specified there.
Closing date for applications is 4pm on February 15th 2013.
The British Academy’s British School at Rome invites applications for its Rome research awards. These awards support research on the archaeology, art history, history, society and culture of Italy, from prehistory to the modern period. The following awards are available:
a Rome fellowship offers board and lodging at the British School at Rome for nine months and includes a research and travel grant equivalent to £475 per month;
a Rome scholarship offers board and lodging at the British School at Rome for nine months and includes a research and travel grant equivalent to £444 per month;
a Rome award offers board and lodging at the British School at Rome for an extended period of study in Italy, normally three months, and includes a research grant of £150 per month and a travel grant of £180 per month.
Applicants for fellowships normally should have submitted their doctorate not more than two years previous to the closing date for applications. Scholarships will be awarded to applicants at pre-doctoral level who have begun a programme of research in the general field for which the scholarship is sought, whether or not registered for a higher degree. Applicants for awards normally will have begun a programme of research in the general field for which the award is being sought, whether or not registered for a higher degree. Awards are not normally suitable for those in established posts. All applicants must be British or Commonwealth citizens; or must be studying or have studied at postgraduate level in a UK higher education institution, having completed not less than four years of residence in the UK by October 2012; or must hold a post in a UK higher education institution. Awards must be taken up between October 2013 and June 2014.
From 1 December 2012 the AHRC will be changing one of its requirements for Grant and Fellowship applications (Research Networking applications will remain unaffected). This change relates to the way applicants provide information about the digital technologies or outputs associated with their proposals. This change will affect all applications including those without a digital element.
The AHRC s ICT strategic programme identified issues regarding the sustainability and accessibility of electronic outputs funded by the AHRC. We have also had feedback from the AHRC s moderating panels regarding the assessments of technical aspects of proposals which has prompted a review of the way AHRC captures and assesses information about the digital aspects of projects. This has included a review of the technical appendix with the aim of revising the requirements for the application form and updating the guidance for applicants. The purpose of these changes is to provide clearer guidance as to when and how detailed technical information needs to be provided, thereby reducing the number of applications which require expert technical review. For the more routine technical aspects of proposals, e.g. websites, these will be an integral part of the proposal which all reviewers will be expected to assess.
Applications submitted on or after 1st December 2012 will need to take account of the new guidance and application form requirements.
The key changes are that:
All proposals will be required to contain additional information in the Case for Support, under a new Technical Summary Heading. Note that the maximum length of the case for support has been increased to support this.
Applicants who identify within the Technical Summary that their proposal has digital outputs or digital technologies that are essential to their planned research outcomes will be expected to submit a Technical Plan attachment.
The Technical Summary should either provide an outline of the technical aspects of the project OR indicate why the project has no need to complete a Technical Plan
The current technical appendix section of the Je-S form will be removed, as will the attachment type
Je-S has been updated to allow applications using the new Technical Plan attachment to be created, but please note that these cannot be submitted until 1 December 2012. Applications using the current rules and Technical Appendix section and attachment can be created and submitted until 30 November 2012 Further guidance on the technical attachment and how to complete it are now available in the Application guidance section of the AHRC Funding Guide and Je-S helptext.