Guidance for peer reviewers

Peer review is the cornerstone of the work of the MRC as a funding organisation and the time and effort that peer reviewers give to the MRC peer review process is invaluable in helping our research boards and panels make funding decisions.

All proposals submitted to us are scrutinised by independent experts who consider the importance, scientific potential and cost-effectiveness of the research concerned. We use a two-stage peer review process for grants and fellowships. In the first stage, at least three reviewers from the UK and overseas provide an expert assessment of the proposal. The second stage is the MRC research board or panel’s assessment and funding decision. This usually involves two steps: a sift (triage or shortlisting) to select the most competitive proposals to go through to the next stage, and a meeting where the final funding decision is taken.

This guidance is aimed at peer reviewers taking part in the first stage of this process. Board and panel members will be provided with separate guidance.

A PDF of the complete Guidance for peer reviewers (PDF, 482KB) is available should you wish to work offline. A quick reference guide which summaries this guidance is also available.