The Review Process
The majority of AHRC schemes operate as follows:
- proposals are considered by two or more members of the Peer Review College (PRC),
- where the proposal requires a Technical Appendix, the technical feasibility of the proposal is assessed separately,
- applicants provide a response (Principal Investigator Response / Right of Reply) to the comments of the Peer Review College reviewers and the technical review where applicable,
- proposals, reviews, technical reviews, and Principal Investigators’ responses to the reviews are considered by peer reviewers appointed by the Council to its subject panels,
- Panels grade and rank proposals in order of funding priority, and
- the panels’ recommendations are considered by the Director of Research and a final decision is taken on the list of awards to be supported.
Panel members are expected to make informed judgements of all proposals passed to them for review.
It is impossible to achieve coverage within a single panel of the full range of subjects and the wide diversity of proposals submitted to the AHRC. Under the system outlined above, therefore, specialist advice is available via the reviews provided by the PRC reviewers. In framing proposals for peer review, however, applicants are advised to address as wide a group of peers as possible.
Exceptions to the process
There are some exceptions to the peer review process outlined above, for example the Research Networking Scheme. In these cases, PRC reviews are obtained, but proposals are not considered by peer review panels. Instead they are moderated in the AHRC office where possible.
If an in-house grading decision cannot be made they are passed to a member of our Strategic Reviewers group within the College. We also run assessment panels for some schemes where panel members do make assessments of the proposals.