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Applying and Reviewing “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” May 2014. This sessions covers some tips for…. Writing your EPSRC proposal Reviewing an EPSRC proposal Writing your PI response. what to do (and what NOT to do…). Writing my EPSRC proposal – Where do I start?.

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Applying and Reviewing

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

May 2014

this sessions covers some tips for
This sessions covers some tips for…
  • Writing your EPSRC proposal
  • Reviewing an EPSRC proposal
  • Writing your PI response

what to do (and what NOT to do…)

writing my epsrc proposal where do i start
Writing my EPSRC proposal – Where do I start?

http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/guidance/preparing/Pages/writing.aspx

a standard mode proposal includes
A standard mode proposal includes…
  • Proposal form (complete via JeS)
  • Case for Support and required documents
      • Track record (2 sides of A4)
      • Description of the proposed research and context (6 sides of A4)
      • Diagrammatic workplan (1 side of A4)
      • Pathways to Impact (2 sides of A4)
      • Justification of Resources (2 sides of A4)
  • Additional documents (CVs, statements or letters of support, equipment quotes…)
the case for support
The Case for Support
  • Track record – relevant to the proposal
  • Description of the Research
      • Refer to the guidance notes
      • Use the suggested headings
a note about national importance vs impact
A note about National Importance vs Impact
  • Demand outstrips budget
  • National Importance
    • Why should the UK fund your research over another proposal?
    • What is the potential held within the research program proposed?
    • How could the UK benefit from the research being funded?
  • Pathways to Impact
    • What are you, as the research team, going to do to increase the impact of the research proposed?
    • How will the appropriate people know of your work?
    • How will you enable the work to pass along the innovation chain?
resources requested
Resources requested
  • Resources requested should…
      • Be adequate, realistic and appropriate for the research
      • Be clearly and concisely justified
project partners
Project partners
  • Do I need to have a project partner?
  • Statements of support vs letters of support – what’s the difference?
      • Both must demonstrate a tangible input – direct or indirect
      • Both should be project-specific
  • Guidance at: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/guidance/preparing/Pages/lettersofsupport.aspx
consider your audience
Consider your audience
  • Look at the reviewer prompts
  • Don’t forget the panel
  • Consider what excites you about your research and convey this to the audience
  • Remember the basics.
      • What are you planning to do?
      • How are you planning to do it?
      • Why is this important?
good proposals
Good Proposals…
  • are about excellent research. Quality is still the primary criterion.
  • demonstrate the capability of the applicants
  • show novelty and added value
  • are clear about the ideas, methodology and work plan – not woolly or cluttered with technical jargon
  • pitch an appropriate and realistic degree of ambition
  • don’t leave questions unanswered
first grants
First Grants…
  • are about excellent research. Quality is still the primary criterion.
  • demonstrate the university’s commitment to the applicant’s career development.

“The University lets this proposal down very badly by committing absolutely nothing but good will… There is no point at all in writing the kind of benevolently woolly letter that has been submitted.”

first grants1
First Grants…
    • are assessed at standard mode panels – separate list.
    • are not a “must”!
    • should meet the eligibility criteria and fit the ethos of the scheme.
    • should pitch an appropriate and realistic degree of ambition
  • “As a whole, the goal of addressing "all seven pillars of life" within the scope of a 15-month project might be tooambitious, if not impossible.”
have you thought a bout
Have you thought about…?
  • what it would be like to review your proposal
  • having experienced colleagues review your proposal
  • looking at successful proposals – may help you with structure
  • whether the panel will want to read your proposal (is the summary well-written and accessible to a non-expert audience)?
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“There is no grantsmanship that will turn a bad idea into a good one, but…… there are many ways to disguise a good one.”

  • William Raub, Past Deputy Director, NIH
allocation of reviewers
Allocation of reviewers
  • Initial reviewer selection should include a minimum of…
      • one (of three) reviewers nominated by the applicant
      • two College reviewers
  • Other independent reviewers
  • International reviewers
  • Industrial reviewers
good review poor review
Good review… poor review...
  • Reviewer comments are crucial to the peer review process, and should aim to…
    • provide clear, concise comments and recommendations
    • clearly identify strengths and weaknesses
    • be consistent – give justification for scores
    • ask specific questions for the applicant to address
    • be constructive

“Do unto others…”

guidance for reviewers
Guidance for reviewers
  • Reviewers are given three weeks to respond – this can usually be extended upon request
  • Conflicts of interest should be declared
  • Multidisciplinary research needs a broad view
  • Your review should be anonymous
  • Guidance for reviewers is at http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/funding/peerrev/review/Pages/proposals.aspx
applicant response to reviewers
Applicant response to reviewers
  • Use this opportunity to respond to reviewer comments – usually within 5 working days
  • Key input to the process
  • Read reviewer comments carefully and provide a balanced response
applicant response to reviewers1
Applicant response to reviewers
  • Using all the available space to vilify “unsuitable” or “biased” reviewers is a wasted opportunity.
  • Consider the comments and provide evidence that the reviewer may well have misunderstood your intentions – or plainly got it wrong.