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Research Councils to assess value for money of peer review system


The UK’s eight Research Councils have begun an initiative to assess the efficiency and value for money of their grant peer review process.

The UK peer review system provides an international benchmark of research quality and the project is based on a continuing commitment of the Research Councils and Government to the principle of the project-based peer review system. The initiative will provide evidence that will inform possible efficiency gains while maintaining the high quality of the system. It will report by the end of September 2006.

The Peer Review Project will include an examination of the full cost of the grant peer review system. It will encompass the cost to institutions of researchers and administrators writing proposals, academics acting as referees and panel members and analysing the time of staff and cost of operations within the Councils themselves.

Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of Research Councils UK, the strategic partnership of the eight Research Councils, said: “The UK peer review system is respected and envied across the world and is central to the work of the Research Councils. However, this does not mean we should not look for ways to make it more efficient and effective for its users – the research community. The review project will engage research organisations, including universities and Research Council Institutes, involved in the peer review process to make sure we capture the full cost of peer review to the research community.”

The project will involve an analysis of the internal operations and costs of the peer review process within the Research Councils in addition to a survey of HEIs to ensure that the full spectrum of costs are captured.

The Peer Review Project is one of the strands of work being undertaken in support of the Research Councils’ submissions to the Government’s 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Matt Goode | alfa
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