Peer Review Process

Like most research funders, Bowel Research UK award research grants on a competitive basis using a process called expert peer review. Our processes have been passed by the Association of Medical Research Charities’ peer review audit, a hallmark of quality recognised by government, universities and major funding bodies.

As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities, we abide by the AMRC’s  five principles of peer review when awarding research funding:

  • Accountability
  • Balance
  • Independence
  • Rotation
  • Impartiality

Grants are awarded entirely on scientific merit in relation to Bowel Research UK’s strategy and based on open competition. The quality of the application, quality of research proposed and applicants’ experience in their field are the key determinants of outcome.

Research proposals are assigned to one or two Grants Committee members with relevant scientific/clinical expertise. Grants Committee members carry out a preliminary review of all Expressions of Interest for small grants and full applications for PhDs. Grants Committee members identify those that should proceed to the next review stage, and those that do not offer a quality research project. This is discussed and agreed at one of our scheduled Grants Committee meetings. If we are not going to take your application any further, we will let you know within 4 weeks of the Grants Committee meeting, and we will send you anonymised feedback from the Grants Committee.

If successful, the applicant is asked to submit a full application regarding their small grant and alerted as to the next meeting of the Grants Committee. For our successful PhD’s you are told that your application will now be peer reviewed before returning to the next Grants Committee meeting for a final discussion. Shortlisted applications are sent to at least two researchers in the UK, and if necessary in Europe or further afield, who specialise in the area of the application, but who do not have a conflict of interest and are not a member of the Grants Committee. The comments made by the external reviewers, and the reviewers scores, are then made available to the Grants Committee members. External peer reviewers assessing applications must declare any conflict of interest before they can be granted access to the applications.

Each application is allocated to two Grants Committee members, based on their areas of expertise. The two members will present the application to the rest of the Grants Committee, including any relevant information from external reviews and their scores. A short discussion will follow before the Grants Committee members decide whom to award. Applications for each grant scheme are ranked by their average score and recommendations for funding are made.

Those applications recommended for funding by the Grants Committee are presented to the trustees for final approval.

Following the application review process, applicants will be notified by e-mail as to whether they have been successful in obtaining funding. Successful applicants will then be issued an awards letter based on our Terms and Conditions, along with information for new grant holders regarding the management of their grant.

The Grant Award Letter and the funding of the grant along with the Terms and Conditions establish the basis on which the Grant is made by Bowel Research UK to the Host Institution and Grant Holder. These conditions are relevant to applicants for and holders of Bowel Research UK Grants, to heads of institutions or departments applying for or receiving a new grant, to those responsible for the organisation and financial administration of a grant. It is particularly important for the Grant Holder and those taking administrative responsibility for a grant to read and understand our grant conditions and retain them for reference during the tenure of the grant. Any amendments to the grant post-award must be made to the Director of Research and PPI who will present this to the Grants Committee for authorisation.