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CLASP Panel Member Terms of Reference and Guidance

STFC Objectives

The STFC External Innovations runs a Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP) to support the application and commercialisation of STFC research in the four key global research challenge areas identified in the STFC Futures Programme. These four areas are energy, environment, healthcare and security. Individual calls are aligned to specific challenge areas. Further information on the CLASP scheme can be found at the STFC website

Constitution of the CLASP panel

The core panel is comprised of representatives from academia, government and industry. For each call the panel will contain a minimum of two specialists with expertise relevant to the specific call remit. This may necessitate the co-option of external specialists. The Chair is appointed for a period of two years. The Chair is selected from the existing panel members by the STFC executive.

The membership of the panel initially will be for the duration of 3 years. If panel membership is extended at the request of the STFC, this will reviewed annually for a maximum of three years.

Remit of the CLASP panel

The CLASP Panel is a peer review body, set up to make recommendations on grant applications received against the CLASP calls. Panel members are required to mentor applicants through the full proposal preparation and to assess progress of the project by review of reports.
It will undertake this task having regard to the overall strategy and policy of STFC’s Council and Science Board, and to the budget positions as advised by the executive.

Equality of Opportunity

STFC is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination. Its equality schemes for gender and disability are at These schemes apply to all STFC committee members. Panel members should be aware of these schemes and the need to ensure equal treatment of applicants. A particular equality issue in peer review is unconscious bias. Despite striving to be objective, people often hold implicit or unconscious assumptions that influence their judgement. Examples range from expectations or
assumptions about physical or social characteristics associated with gender, ethnicity and age to those associated with certain jobs, academic institutions and fields of study. A briefing note on unconscious bias can be found at

Panel responsibilities

  • With reference to the assessment criteria, review and make recommendations to the STFC executive on all grant applications to the above schemes
  • Attend panel meetings or provide written comments on all proposals
  • Provide mentorship to at least one application per call for the development of the full proposal
  • To comment on and/or make recommendations regarding any other business or partnership applications as required
  • Review the progress of projects from reports and comment at panel meetings
  • To liaise with other bodies as necessary
  • To report to the Science Board and any other overseeing body as required

Guidelines for managing conflicts of interest in the peer review process

The Science and Technology Facilities Council, as a publicly funded organisation, is accountable to Government and the Public for its actions and for the way it conducts its business, which must be undertaken in a way that is transparent and guards against 'potential conflicts of interest' influencing the outcome of decisions. Further information can be found at Please note the assessment criteria on the web page are not the assessment criteria for the CLASP scheme.


The assessment is a two stage process. The panel will initially meet to review and shortlist expression of interest submissions, each of a maximum of two pages. This meeting is generally held over two days due to the volume of applications. Proposals that pass to the second stage will be assigned at least one mentor from the panel, they will be expected to contact the applicants and provide guidance on the development of a full proposal. Full proposals will be sent externally for technical review and for independent market analysis. In general proposals will be made available on the secure community site to the panel before the panel meeting with reviewer comments, and market analysis made available on the site at least one week before the panel meeting. The panel will be notified when these are submitted.

Finally the applicants will present their proposals directly to the panel. NB Mentors are free
to contribute to the panel discussion and their association with the proposal will be recorded. Panel members should note that there is no limit to the number of proposals reviewed per panel. The meeting is generally held over two days but duration is dependent on the number of proposals submitted for review.

All externally employed panel members may claim reimbursement for their time given on the day of the panel meeting. Given the time required for review of applications and preparation for the meetings self-employed or employees of SME's only may, upon prior request in writing, be offered the standard Honorarium day rate also for preparation time. The reimbursement will reflect the number of proposals reviewed (half a day for 1-4 full proposals a full day for 5-8).

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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