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Information for Reviewers

This page provides some brief guidance for reviewers. Even if you are an experienced reviewer, the information here may be helpful in explaining what we are looking for in a review.

We are committed to a process of expert (or ‘peer’) review to ensure that we are supporting high quality projects. While peer review is most commonly associated with the assessment of academic research, we use reviewers across each of our programmes. They are selected as experts in their field who are qualified to provide an informed and impartial review. The process is central to our decision-making and we are extremely grateful to those who undertake this work for us.

Advice on the format
We do not issue detailed guidance to reviewers, preferring to give you freedom to comment on the merits of the applicant organisation and project within the areas that you have expertise and experience. As such, we do not operate a formal scoring system. Reviews vary in length, depending on the complexity of the project, but generally range from a few paragraphs to a few pages (a longer review is more common in the assessment of scientific research proposals).

Advice on the content
Reviewers are chosen for their expertise in the field within which the applicant operates, and as such, we do not expect detailed commentary on the financial or construction elements of the application, although you should feel free to raise any points in these areas if you feel able. We are most interested in your view of the organisation’s level of excellence within their field (and in a regional, national or international context), and the merits of the specific project.

It may be useful to know that we do not ask applicants to apply for a specific amount. Instead we ask for the total project cost and sum still to be raised, together with a list of areas or items that may be suitable for us to award a grant against.

Research proposals
Many of our research funding applications are for new facilities housing a range of activity. We recognise that it can be difficult for a reviewer to feel comfortable commenting on such wide-ranging applications. In such cases, we encourage reviewers to comment on the research themes which are most relevant to their own area of interest.

Policy on confidentiality
The confidentiality of the reviewers chosen is integral to the process. We do, however, provide feedback questions or queries to applicants where appropriate. This is done without compromising the identity of reviewers.

Applications, reviewers’ comments and any responses from applicants to queries raised are considered by our expert Panels, who make recommendations to the Trustees. Key criteria used by Trustees to assess applications include: the excellence of the organisation and project; the anticipated outcome of the project; financial viability, including value for money and adequate provision for ongoing costs/maintenance.

Conflicts for reviewers
Reviewers are asked to declare potential conflicts of interest in their written submissions. Where there is a significant conflict, we ask that you discuss this with the Foundation office in advance of submitting a review.

Significant conflicts (which would preclude a reviewer from making comments) include:

  1. sitting on a Board with responsibility for strategic oversight of the applicant organisation
  2. being in receipt of any funds (wages, consultancy fees or otherwise) from the applicant organisation
  3. having research which is directly dependent on connections with the applicant research groups

Privacy policy
The Wolfson Foundation will process your personal data in accordance with its Privacy Notices. View our Privacy Notice for Applicants, Grantees & Scholars.