Balancing Capability and peer review panels

To maintain the UK's global research standing in light of increasing international competition, and with limited funding available to us, we must focus our investments to ensure we use resources effectively, build the capability we need to compete and gain the most long term benefit for the UK.

In 2014 Council reaffirmed the Strategic Plan, articulating a clear goal to balance capabilities, and renaming Shaping Capability to Balancing Capability to accurately reflect the aims of the strategy.

Peer review is central to achieving our aims and over time has evolved to meet changing requirements.  EPSRC modified its panel process in Autumn 2012 to enable panels to most effectively prioritise the proposals they are considering on the day in the wider context of the overall portfolio:

  • National importance criterion includes consideration of how the proposal complements the current UK research landscape, including the EPSRC portfolio as published on our website, and will be considered at panels as a major secondary criterion.
  • Panels receive a contextual briefing from EPSRC to set the proposals in the wider context of the EPSRC portfolio.
  • Speakers (introducers) scores are requested 2-3 days in advance of the meeting to enable EPSRC and the panel to reflect on the scores prior to the meeting, and help focus discussion during the meeting.
  • The number of panel members speaking to each proposal increased from 2 to 3 people to encourage an even richer discussion on the relative merit of proposals and how they complement the existing portfolio.

What this means for applicants, reviewers and panel members

We publish the strategies for our entire portfolio. Proposals submitted since April 2012 require all applicants to describe their proposals in the context of our portfolio.

Reviewers comment on the applicant’s National importance statement and panel members make a relative judgment on the reviewers’ reports regarding this assessment criterion.