Peer review arrangements for the new NHMRC Grant Program

Peer review arrangements for the new NHMRC Grant Program

8th May, 2018

Last year the NHMRC announced the new structure for the new Grant Program. From 2019 the new grant program will be include four major schemes: investigator grants, ideas grants, synergy grants, and strategic and leveraging grants. You can find out more about these new grant schemes in the handy overview table published by AAMRI in 2017.

Following consultation with the sector the NHMRC revealed during a webinar on 26th April, 2018 how peer review is expected to work for the new grant schemes.

The webinar video and slides are now available on the NHMRC website. AAMRI has prepared a high-level summary of the main points covered in the webinar below.

The NHMRC has released the full report of their consultation on developing the new peer review processes, which is available on the NHMRC website.

 


1-Investigator grants

Peer review process

Structure – panel only, no interviews, panel discussion by exception, five assessors per application

  1. Five-member panels assess application using all criteria
  2. Video/teleconference Discussion by panel and by exception only (e.g. anomalous scoring)
  3. Ranked list based on overall score

Peer review scoring elements and weighting

Peer review element WeightingAssessment criteria/indicators
Track recordPublications35%· 10-year list (accounting for career disruption)
· 5 best publications
Research impact20%Presented as a case study, with the following indicators used for assessment
· Knowledge (Evidence of scientific reach and influence)
· Health (Engagement, participation in clinical research, policy leadership, clinical guidelines, standards, development of product/intervention)
· Economic (Healthcare cost savings, IP development, industry collaboration, start-up company, product to market, employment)
· Social (End-user/public engagement, community health benefit, wellbeing of end-user and community, reducing inequalities)
Leadership15%· Research programs and team leadership
· Institutional leadership
· Research policy and professional leadership
· Research mentoring
Knowledge gain30%Research significance and quality

2-Synergy grants

Peer review process

Structure – panel only, no interviews, at least five assessors per application

Stage 1

  1. Knowledge gain and synergy assessment – by broad expertise panel members
  2. Short list applications
  3. Tele/videoconference discussion by exception (e.g. anomalous scores)

Stage 2 – shortlisted applications only

  1. Track record assessment – discipline-specific panel members
  2. Tele/videoconference discussion by exception (e.g. anomalous scores)
  3. Ranked list based on overall score (all criteria)

Peer review scoring elements and weighting

Peer review element WeightingAssessment criteria/indicators
Track recordPublications40%· 10-year list (accounting for career disruption)
· 5 best publications
SynergyDiverse research teams30%E.g. gender, career stage, culture
EngagementEngagement with:
· People with specialised knowledge (as CI, AI, consultant etc)
· Direct beneficiaries of research)
Knowledge gain30%Research significance and quality

3-Ideas grants

Peer review process

Structure – panel only, no external assessments or rebuttals, discussion by exception, at least four assessors per application, no track record element other than feasibility

  1. Discipline-based panels – four spokespersons score each application (all criteria)
  2. NFFC and Rescue
  3. Panel meeting – all members score all applications (all criteria)
  4. Ranked list based on overall score

Peer review scoring elements and weighting

Peer review elementWeightingAssessment criteria/indicators
Research quality35%Awaiting further information
Innovation and creativity25%
Significance20%
Feasibility20%

4-Strategic and leveraging grants – clinical trials and cohort studies scheme

Peer review process

  1. Panel – spokespersons score each application (all criteria)
  2. Identify least competitive
  3. Panel meeting – confirm least competitive applications. All members score remaining applications (all criteria)
  4. Ranked list based on overall score

Peer review scoring elements and weighting

Peer review elementWeightingAssessment criteria/indicators
Significance40%Descriptors being developed for clinical trials and cohort studies
Research quality40%
Team quality and capability20%