Principles of peer review

As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), we have implemented 5 principles of the peer review when we are funding research

Principles of peer review

Peer review is the best way for health and medical research charities to decide what research to fund. Done properly, peer review allows charities to support the best research and the best researchers. This, in turn, can help charities maximise the impact of their funding and deliver changes that really matter to their supporters and stakeholders, so that patients benefit from the fruits of research.

We have implemented AMRC’s five principles of peer review when selecting our research for funding:

  • Accountability: we are open and transparent about our peer review procedures and publish details, including the names of members of our research and scientific advisory committees
  • Balance: Scientific advisory committee reflects a fair balance of experience and scientific disciplines.
  • Independent decision making: The scientific advisory committee is an independent of the charity’s administrative staff and trustees.
  • Rotation of scientific advisers: Scientific advisory committee members have a fixed term of office and not have tenure.
  • Impartiality: Scientific advisory committee includes a significant number of non-beneficiaries. There is a conflict of interest policy and potential beneficiaries leave discussions when decisions are made.

How AMRC members fund research

Our peer review process goes through 4 different steps before we award our research grants, as described below:

  1. Internal triage: We check eligibility of the research applications to ensure they are within scope. We assess the basic quality of research at this stage – this is done by experts.
  2. Written peer review: experts from around the world provide written comments on the research application. We generally require at least two written reviews. Smaller grants may not require this unless the charity deems it necessary to make an informed decision.
    Scientific Advisory
  3. Committee: made up of independent experts, the committee meets on behalf of the charity to discuss each application and the written peer review comments. The research review committee makes independent and impartial funding recommendations to the charity.
  4. Trustees: make the final decision on whether the charity should award funding to the research application. Sometimes this decision making is delegated to the Research sub-committee, but all trustees are kept informed of the research review activity.