Peer Review Policies and Processes 

The research funding environment is highly competitive. Funders, and particularly Research Councils, are increasingly requiring internal peer review and in some cases are expecting internal selection processes.

Our approach recognises this environment and the need to improve success rates; it also recognises that peer review plays a valuable part in colleagues winning external funding to take forward their research.

While peer review of all applications is strongly encouraged, it will be mandatory for:

  • Research Council applications;
  • Large grants (the threshold to be determined by individual Colleges);
  • First grant applications made by early career researchers;
  • Fellowship applications, including mock interviews;
  • Applications including match-funding from School or central funds;
  • It is recognised that for large collaborative bids, peer review may be conducted through a partner institution, in which case there is no expectation that this should be repeated locally.

Peer review at Aston will be undertaken in a supportive, rather than combative framework. It is recognised that peer review may be an iterative process and that discussion, as well as written feedback may be of benefit. In line with our Research Strategy, it is part of the process to further strengthen our culture of research excellence, and improve sustainability.

Peer review will normally be organised at College/School level, using locally approved processes (see below). Applications will be reviewed by experts and non-experts, reflecting the make-up of funder panels; where appropriate, this will include reviewers from colleagues outside of the PIs home College/School.

Peer review will be conducted by a mix of experienced colleagues with a track-record in research funding and as panel members, as well as early career researchers/academics.

In addition to improving grant capture, researchers benefit from engaging with and contributing to peer-review processes in other ways, including improving the quality of their applications; developing collaborations across the University; improving grant writing and reviewing skills.

As our peer review processes develop, we commit to sharing best practice across Colleges.

Colleagues in RKE will maintain records of those who are acting as peer reviewers. At Aston, we recognise the time commitment of those who are contributing to the peer review process, and this will be recognised accordingly.