EPSRC - 5 Steps Of Peer Review

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De-mystifying the EPSRC peer review process - from submitting your application to receiving your grant.

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EPSRC invests almost £900 million a year in world leading engineering and physical sciences research and training for the benefit of the UK economy and society as a whole. Peer review is guided by a set of principles to ensure consistency and integrity and is at the heart of our decision-making process, ensuring we invest in only the highest quality research. There are five steps to take your idea through to a decision.

Step One - Make an Application

You can submit an application in response to one of our specific calls, or to our standard grants call providing the flexibility to apply for short-term grants, or multi million pound research programs, that encourage novel research.

Step Two - Expert Review

We then send your application to independent experts - we aim to have three reviewers for each application including one nominated by you. Reviewers are usually chosen from the Peer Review College, a diverse and multi expert group of around 5,300 representatives from the research community. Research quality is always the primary criterion, but reviewers also consider the national importance, impact, applicant and resource and management.

Step Three - Right to Reply

If reviewers' comments are supportive, your application will be allocated to a panel meeting. This important part of the review process allows you to have the right to reply to reviewers' questions. A good response can make a competitive difference.

Step Four - Panel Meeting

Most applications will be assessed by a panel, although some will be assessed through interview. The panel draws together diverse expertise and experience predominantly from the EPSRC college. It includes an EPSRC convener and an experienced external chairperson and each application is assigned three panel members who lead the discussion on that application. Crucially the panel does not re-review applications, they draw on the comments of the expert reviewers and the applicant's responses to those comments to rank the applications in order of priority.

Step Five - The Decision

After the panel meeting the decision is made on the number of applications on the rank ordered list to fund, based on the available budget and relative quality guided by peer review. All applicants are notified of the outcome of their application and the panel membership and rank ordered list is published online. With limited budgets we can only invest in the very highest quality research. Our peer review process is flexible and evolving to ensure we fund creative and transformative research that delivers against our vision - to make the UK the best place in the world to research, discover and innovate.

To find out more, please visit the Application Process page.