How we review applications for Awards



Peer review ensures proposals received by AREF for research and research training are scrutinised by independent scientific experts who specialise in the areas of science covered in the proposal. Specially convened expert panels assess proposals, drawing on external peer reviewers’ comments and make funding recommendations.

Eligibility criteria in the funding calls are based on our funding strategy and focus, and also reflect our donors’ wishes. Each competition will have its own assessment criteria which will be made available to all applicants.

Our Principles:

  • Confidentiality
    The assessment process is confidential to ensure that sensitive information provided either in the application or at another stage of the peer review process is protected appropriately.
  • Anonymity
    Reviewers’ identities are never shared with applicants. Their names do not appear on the review form, so when these are passed back to applicants, anonymity is maintained. As a reviewer you should ensure that you do not inadvertently identify yourself in your review, perhaps by talking about aspects of your own research.
  • Integrity
    The integrity of the peer review process is of paramount importance. This means that any personal interests as a reviewer must never influence the outcome. If you consider that you may have a conflict of interests you must declare it.
  • Authoritative
    Proposals are assigned as best we can to experts in the same field of research as the applicant. Panels usually have a broader range of expertise than the two or three expert referees selected for a particular proposal.
  • Independent
    Referees and panel members are independent of the applicant, their work and their institution. They cannot participate in the review process if they are a relative, colleague or collaborator of the applicant or work in the same institution as the applicant, or if they have a financial or other personal interest in the outcome of the review. Close competitors may also be excluded.

Steps in the Peer-review Process

Peer review flowchart

Recruiting AREF Peer Reviewers

The College of Experts