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Information for reviewers

Impact of Coronavirus on UKRI-supported research

Additional Guidance for Reviewers on mitigating against how COVID-19 has impacted applicants and the risk of projects needing to be abandoned for grants that were already awarded/ongoing before the COVID-19 pandemic and accounting for the unknown impacts of COVID-19 in any new application

UKRI recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities and are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career(s) such as breaks and delays, disruptive working patterns and conditions, the loss of on-going work, and role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic.  

When undertaking your assessment of the research project, you should consider the unequal impacts of the impact that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the track record and career development of those individuals included in the proposal, and you should focus on the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

UKRI acknowledges that it is a challenge for applicants to determine the future impacts of COVID-19 while the pandemic continues to evolve. Applicants have been advised that their applications should be based on the information available at the point of submission and, if applicable, the known application specific impacts of COVID-19 should be accounted for. Where known impacts have occurred, these should have been highlighted in the application, including the assumptions/information at the point of submission. Applicants were not required to include contingency plans for the potential impacts of COVID-19. Requests for travel both domestically and internationally could be included in accordance to the relevant scheme guidelines, noting the above advice.

When undertaking your assessment of the research project you should assess the project as written, noting that any changes that the project might require in the future, which arise from the COVID-19 pandemic and these will be resolved as a post-award issue by UKRI if the project is successful. Potential complications related to COVID-19 should not affect your assessment or the score you give the project.

Please also refer to the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making documentation.

All applications for research grants undergo scientific assessment of research quality by UK and overseas experts in the field from academia, government or industry.

This assessment considers how applications meet the criteria for:

  • Scientific excellence
  • Strategic relevance
  • Industrial and stakeholder relevance
  • Economic and social impact
  • Timeliness and promise
  • Value for money
  • Staff training potential of the project.

Reviewers should not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions. This is in line with our commitment to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Fellowship reviewers

Grant reviewers

BBSRC guidance notes for reviewers using the Je-S system (PDF 192KB)

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The spreadsheet below contains a revised list of keywords launched in December 2008.

Keyword classification (XLS 203KB)

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BBSRC keyword classification: Primary and secondary keywords (PDF 17KB)

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