Changes to Peer Review at BU

poor-review-and-peer-reviewBack in July, I Chaired a Pre-Award Review meeting to discuss a number of recommendations put forward by DDRPPs and as a result of feedback received through the pre-award surveys that are sent to academics who have submitted applications within the last year.  The meeting included Professor John Fletcher, Professor Christine Maggs, Professor Vanora Hundley, Dr Richard Berger, Dr Richard Shipway, Deborah Wakely, Kelly Deacon-Smith, Zita Lovaszy and Kerri Jones.  Professor Robert Britton also contributed written feedback on the recommendations.

One of the recommendations was to change the way we carry out peer review at BU.

There was a strong message from academics that it should be their responsibility to ensure that their application is of the highest quality before it is submitted to an external funder.  Therefore, it was agreed that faculties would manage their own peer review and determine at what level this will be provided.  Whilst there may now be slight differences to the peer review options available in each faculty, they all have quality approvers, some have mentors available, and all of them emphasise that RPRS is still available through RKEO, as is the use of a RKEO Research Facilitator to assist with development of an application.  It is now the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to ensure that a form of peer review/ quality approval is carried out on their application.  Through an APF request sent by RKEO, the Principal Investigator will be asked to confirm what type of peer review has been undertaken and by whom and to confirm that the content is correct (including costs agreed with RKEO).  An application cannot be submitted until the PI has confirmed that it is ready to go.  Applicants applying through e-submission routes (such as Je-S, e-GAP, etc.) should note that they still have to submit a final application to RKEO five working days before a call closing date.  This enables RKEO to carry out thorough checks in line with funder guidance to ensure that your application isn’t rejected due to a technicality.

To clarify, this means that it is no longer mandatory for any applications to go through the internal peer review process known as RPRS.  However, as said above, this service is still available through RKEO.  Also, RKEO will no longer administer the quality approval process as this will be the responsibility of the PI.

RKEO have been working over the summer to finalise new Intention to Bid forms with each Faculty, which sets out the peer review options for applicants and provides a list of quality approvers for that faculty.  Please contact your RKEO Funding Development Officer for the new Intention to Bid form:

More information on the other recommendations will be publicised in due course.  If you have any queries about the new process then please contact Jo Garrad, Funding Development Manager, RKEO.