Monday, 18 January 2010

ESRC Changes: How it will Work in Practice

You might have heard that the ESRC are changing the way they assess applications, mentioned in a previous post. I wasn’t clear about the new system, so gave them a call. Below is an outline of the process your applications will go through:

  • Standard Grants:
    o Review: When you submit, your application will be looked at by an ESRC officer who will decide (using the key words you gave in the application form) who are the most appropriate people from the new ‘Peer Review College’ to review it. The Peer Review College will be made up of 1500-2000 academics and users. Depending on the amount you are asking for, it will be seen by between 3 – 6 reviewers. You will not have a Right to Reply unless your application is for more than £500k.
    o Panels: Based on the grades given by the reviewers (1(poor)-6 (excellent), which will be the same grading structure used by all of the Research Councils), subject to meeting a minimum grade applications will then be assessed by members of one of three new 3 grant assessment panels. These panels will be discipline based, though the delineation between them has not yet been decided. The three panels will meet at the same time in the same place, and members of each might be called upon by the other panels if there is an application which falls between the disciplines of the panels. The panels may also take on addition members from an ‘Assessors College’, depending on the subject range of the applications before them. The Assessors College is different from the Peer Review College, and is intended to provide members for the panels, but also to assess Small Grants (see below) and other ESRC fast track schemes.
    o Decision: The final decision is made by the Grants Delivery Group (made up of Chairs of the Standing Panels, the vice chair of the Research Committee, and a member of the Training Committee (where appropriate)) supported by ESRC officers, based on the prioritisation list drawn up by the Panel and the available budget.

  • Small Grants
    o Review: as at present, applications will be reviewed by 2 people from the Panels or the Assessors College but will not be considered by the full Panel.
    o Decision: the highest rated applications will be funded within the budget available.

Staff can put themselves forward to stand on any of the bodies mentioned above. Details of how to do so are available here.

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