Documents to Review

General Guidance

- BBSRC specific

- EPSRC specific

- ESRC specific

- NC3Rs specific

- NERC specific

- STFC specific


General Guidance


This section provides the Reviewer with the material to be reviewed. The initial screen gives a summary of the document(s) under review, listing Grant reference details and the title, plus whether the proposal is connected to a joint proposal (and if so, whether the lead or non-lead). If you cannot see all parts of the project on the screen, please scroll down the screen to see the other parts.


The original Proposal or Final Report, and any associated attachments from this document, such as Case for Support or CVs are also provided, and may be accessed from the initial summary screen. These documents are provided in PDF (read-only) format. You can view each document individually, or view all related documents, in PDF or ZIP file format, and can choose to view these on screen.


To maintain confidentiality, access to proposal documents is removed a few months after the due date or if you decline to review a proposal.


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Joint Proposals

The documents for review may consist of more than one grant application where a project is to be carried out at multiple institutions. Where this is the case each distinct grant application within the overall project will have its own reference number, form and attachments. One of the grant applications will have been designated the lead component of the project, and only the reference number of the lead component will appear in the header of all Je-S pages to represent the project as a whole. You should ensure that you consider all grant applications within the project together when completing your review.  Where there are multiple grant reference numbers relating to a request to review, this will be shown by an ellipsis:




BBSRC specific

When completing your review it is essential that you address all the questions and select the appropriate grades. Detailed comments in support of your decision are important and will be used as feedback to the applicants.

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EPSRC - Specific Requirements

EPSRC reviewer guidance and the specific assessment criteria for each scheme is available on the EPSRC website at


If the proposal has been submitted in response to a published call, you are asked to read that call document and to make your assessment of the application within the context of the aims, objectives and specific assessment criteria for that call. The call document can be found on the EPSRC Website following this link:


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ESRC - Specific Requirements


Web links in the proposal


The proposal you are asked to review includes a case for support. In some instances, the case for support may include a link to a web site containing information on the research proposed. Reviewers are not required to consider this additional information when providing comments on a proposal. It is recommended that you do not click on such embedded links as it is possible that your anonymity to the applicant will be compromised.


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NC3Rs - Specific Requirements

General Guidance


These notes are intended to provide reviewers with specific guidance for the completion of the reviewer form. Guidance is provided within the JeS Helptext and can be downloaded from the NC3Rs website at

Specific guidance is available for each individual section of the peer review form including detailed questions under each heading; these are intended to act as prompts and as a reminder of those issues that are likely to be most significant in determining the overall merit of a proposal, but you do not need to address each of these in your report.

You should note that your anonymised review will be sent to the investigator, who will then have the opportunity to comment on queries you have raised. Their response will be sent to the Panel as part of the assessment process. 


Assessment methodology


The assessment of any research proposal submitted to the NC3Rs is based on four core criteria:


  1. Importance: impact on the 3Rs

  2. Scientific quality and potential: what are the prospects for good scientific progress?

  3. Resources: are the funds requested reasonable and justified, and does the proposal represent good value for money?

  4. Relevance to the NC3Rs strategy and mission

Reviewers are also asked to consider other aspects of the research, including the potential impact and pathways to achieving this, ethical issues, appropriate use of animals, methodology and experimental design and data management plans.

Each of the different funding schemes has a set of more detailed criteria which should be considered when providing a review. The scheme will be specified within the proposal form.


There is no prescribed way to answer questions on the form. However, Assessment Panels generally find reviews that explicitly identify the main strengths and weaknesses in the proposal, while also giving a clear view on which should be accorded the greater significance and why, the most useful. It is also helpful to raise issues or concerns with the proposal in the form of explicit questions for the applicants to address in their response. This aids the Panel in assessing how complete and convincing the applicants’ responses are. 


Scheme Specific Guidance

Project grant calls

Further information on project grants, including peer review guidance (, can be found on the NC3Rs website at:


Strategic Award calls

Further information on strategic awards, including peer review guidance (, can be found on the NC3Rs website at:


David Sainsbury Fellowships

Further information on the David Sainsbury Fellowships, including peer review guidance (, can be found on the NC3Rs website at:

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NERC - Specific Requirements

When completing your review it is essential that you address all the questions and select the appropriate grades. Detailed comments in support of your decision are important and will be used as feedback to the applicants.

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STFC - Specific Requirements

General Guidance


These notes are designed to provide Reviewers with more detailed guidance on completing the individual sections of the reviewer form. They should be read in conjunction with the Reviewer protocols and STFC guidance on unconscious bias in peer review:                      


We do not check the content of reviews within the STFC office so whatever you provide will be seen by both the applicant(s) and panel members – it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that you stick to our guidance. Any review which is deemed to contain inappropriate comments by one of our panels will be considered as unusable in our assessment process

Documents to review are available, as a single PDF or ZIP file as well as in its individual parts. Should you not be able to see all the documents select the PDF option which will then display all the documents that need reviewing. NB there is a known issue with only one project partner letter of support being made available in the individual attachments but, where there are multiple project partners, viewing the combined PDF will provide access to all of them.


Key points

STFC rely on good quality comments and acknowledge the contribution from Reviewers in ensuring the peer review process is carried out effectively.  In order to ensure that your review is as useful as possible please:



The majority of grant applications submitted to the Astronomy, Particle Physics and Nuclear Physics Peer Review Panels will be consolidated applications. A consolidated application is very likely to encompass numerous projects, which may need to be assessed and ranked as individual projects. For AGP the Reviewers are likely to be asked to comment on several projects within the proposal.  For the PPGP and NPGP, reviewers will either be asked to consider one project across several proposals or one science area across the proposals.  In most cases Reviewers will have been approached either by a Panel Member or Research Council staff before receiving the application to review in their Je-S account.


It is worth noting that the entire application will be made available, however specific guidance on which projects to review will be provided in the additional information for reviewers section of the form.

When completing the review, Reviewers are reminded to be aware of which sections will be seen by the applicants when fed back to them to respond to any factual inaccuracies.

Assessment Criteria for STFC Grant Applications

Applications to our core programme calls should be assessed against the criteria published within our Research Grant Handbook: . Other funding opportunities are subject to different assessment criteria.  Please see the links below for specific STFC schemes:



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