EPSRC Peer Review College Newsletter - June 2020

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EPSRC Peer Review College Newsletter

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Welcome to the Summer 2020 edition of the Peer Review College Newsletter. EPSRC would like to thank you for your continued support during the current COVID 19 pandemic. Your dedication to reviewing proposals and attending Panel meetings during this difficult time is very much appreciated. We are still receiving proposals and rely on your continued support to deliver the peer review process. 

In this edition we are providing details of how EPSRC and UKRI are continuing to work during the pandemic and highlighting where the UKRI guidance can be found. 

Below you will also find details of opportunities to support EPSRC further by applying to be a part of the New Horizons batch reviewing process or one of the Strategic Advisory Teams.

We hope that you find the content of this newsletter useful, if you have any feedback or suggestions for future content please do let us know by e-mailing the EPSRC Business Improvement team.

Thank you!

The Business Improvement Team

NH 600

New Horizons Reviewing Opportunity

EPSRC have recently launched the New Horizons call which aims to encourage a continued flow of new transformative research ideas into the EPSRC portfolio. This opportunity will trial a bespoke application process involving anonymous submissions and funding highly adventurous, small scale and flexible early stage projects.

EPSRC are now inviting community members to be part of the New Horizons batch reviewing process, The process requires you to review up to 8 anonymous proposals, each of which are four pages in length. You will be required to provide comments against just one criterion:

  • How exciting, high quality and potentially transformative is the research proposed?

All reviewers are required to complete their batch of proposals within a 3-week period between 14th July and 3rd August 2020.

If you are interested in acting as a reviewer, please confirm your availability and willingness to take part in this process via NewHorizons@epsrc.ukri.org by 2nd July 2020.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to hearing from you.

Read the News article

Read the call document

Continuing peer review in the current situation

EPSRC are seeking to continue the assessment and processing of applications as close to normal as possible and we appreciate your involvement and value any input your are able to provide. 

To continue the assessment of proposals we have moved to running Panel Meetings virtually through the online video conferencing platform Zoom. We recognise the additional cognitive load that the current situation and particularly participating in virtual panel meetings places on our community, and hope that you will be reassured by some of the positive feedback we have received following panels which have already been held virtually:

"It was an adventure to do a zoom panel and overall I thought it went pretty well.  The hardest is trying to watch for reactions and body language when there are clear contentions I think, and getting the balance between keeping to time and giving everyone an opportunity."   

"I understand that this was one of the first panels held entirely virtually. Some initial technical problems notwithstanding, I found that the process worked extremely well, and in some ways better than a "real life" panel, which I have previously participated in. On this occasion, the entire panel (not just the introducers) engaged in the discussion of most proposals, across subject boundaries . The timetable was very well organised and helped manage the substantial cognitive load, and the chairing was excellent".

"It is pretty exhausting spending two days on Zoom but i thought that the EPSRC staff, chair and the other participants all handled it extremely well".

We recognise the importance of scheduling and adhering to breaks, and will continue to put this high on the agenda at future panels. We appreciate Panel Members' feedback on this matter in particular, as well as suggestions on how we can help you to continue to participate in the assessment of proposals. 

If you have attended a virtual panel and would like to provide feedback please complete the Panel Questionnaire.

Contact EPSRC

Impact of COVID-19 on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Community

We want to acknowledge the current unprecedented situation that we are all in and that it will be affecting everyone in our community, but some people will be more impacted than others. We are aware that the current global pandemic will be providing additional EDI challenges for many across the engineering and physical sciences (EPS) community and that it will have an impact on the lives and careers of researchers for years to come. Therefore, we would like to highlight some of the ways in which we are working to better understand these impacts and to consider action to help mitigate them.

Read the full article

EPSRC seeks applicants for Strategic Advisory Teams

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is welcoming applications for membership of its Strategic Advisory Teams (SATs). Positions are open on the following SATs: e-Infrastructure, Engineering, Healthcare Technologies, Information and Communication Technology, Mathematical Sciences and Physical Sciences.

The recruitment process for SAT applications is open until 16.00hrs on Friday, 31st July 2020. Applications will be through an online form (see below).

Appointed SAT members will begin their membership in January 2021. Their appointment will last for three years, with the possibility of an extension for up to a further three years. SAT members are paid a fee for each activity they are involved in and are reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses when attending meetings. EPSRC also provides additional support for those with caring responsibilities to enable full participation in meetings.

Read more

Covid call

Get funding for ideas that address COVID-19

UKRI are inviting proposals for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. 


Find out more

Changes to Peer Review Forms

In our last newsletter we informed you of changes to the EPSRC assessment criteria and the way that EPSRC would assess impact from 1 March 2020.

We are currently in a transition period and are  processing applications that were received both before and after 1 March 2020 and reviewers will start to receive applications that will need to be assessed against the new assessment criteria shortly. 

Reviewer guidance for applications with no Pathway to Impact has been produced and is also available on the EPSRC website

Please use the links below to view examples for Standard Grants.

View the Peer Review Form

View the changes to Pathways to Impact

Covid guidance

COVID-19: Guidance for the research and innovation communities

The ongoing situation regarding coronavirus has significantly impacted the research and innovation community. The nature of these impacts is evolving. Wherever UKRI can, we are taking quick decisions, identifying new issues as they emerge and providing answers and support wherever possible.

Please use the link below which will take you to the page on the UKRI website which contains the latest information for UKRI supported researchers and innovators and is updated on a regular basis.

Read the guidance

UKRI Covid hub

UKRI Coronavirus Hub

The UKRI Coronavirus Hub gives you the latest information on the vital work of UKRI and our community in response to the crisis, what grants and awards we have made, and our continuing call to fund your ideas to limit the outbreak and protect life

Visit UKRI Coronavirus Hub