Friday, 17 May 2013

Changes to NERC Peer Review

NERC is introducing changes to its peer review process to improve 'consistency, quality and transparency'. In an email to peer review college (PRC) members, the Council set out what will stay the same and what will change.

What will stay the same? 

The central role and importance of the PRC will remain. However, it wants to allow for more 'inclusivity and flexibility', whilst recognising the need for 'consistency, particularly in panel membership.'

What will change? 

  • Timing of peer review periods, to try and avoid overlap with each other and major university holidays. They will also confirm membership and dates earlier in the process. 
  • More consistent panel membership and more stable panel portfolios. There will be a new role of ‘core’ member, and they will have a primary responsibility for attending moderating panel meetings in a particular panel area, forming half of the panel membership. Other PRC members will be invited on an ad hoc basis. All current PRC members will be considered for 'core' membership, which will be fixed term.  
  • More consistent review levels and the removal of the ‘sift’ process.  Reviewers will no longer be asked to complete reviews where they judge that they have low expertise. In addition, moderating panels will consider all proposals submitted to a call, so meetings will be longer (held over two days) and the role of panel member even more central to the funding and assessment process. 
  • A pre-score process will be introduced to allow panels to prioritise proposals for discussion. Pre-scores for excellence will be required from panel members at least 1 week before meetings. 
  • Better Performance monitoring and management. Performance standards will be introduced and more closely monitored on a PRC and individual level. There will also be on-line training for all members to ensure that members continue to be aware of what is expected of them and any changes to policy;
When will these changes happen? 

From January 2014. The PRC year will start from January rather than July from that point onwards. In the meantime there will be a call for new membership in June 2013.

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