IPS Panel Member Terms of Reference and Guidance

STFC Objectives

The STFC Innovations directorate runs a number of funding schemes supporting the commercialisation of STFC funded science. The Innovations Partnership Scheme (IPS) is designed to transfer technology and expertise developed through STFC funding to the marketplace in partnership with industry and other academic disciplines. A full IPS can run over a maximum of three years. Mini-IPS also supports collaborative projects with funding available for a maximum of one year. Follow on Funding is intended to provide financial support at the very early or pre-seed stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition. Further information on the schemes can be found through the STFC website.

Constitution of the IPS panel

The IPS Assessment Panel is a peer review body comprised of nine members; five representatives from industry and four from the academic community representing the remit of the Council's science programme, and chaired by a panel member from industry. The Chair is appointed for a minimum of two years. The replacement is chosen from the existing industrial panel members by the current Chair and the STFC executive.

The membership of the panel initially will be for the duration of 3 years. If panel membership is extended, this will be for a maximum of three additional years.

Remit of the IPS panel

The IPS panel is set up to make recommendations on grant applications received against the calls for IPS, Mini-IPS, and Follow-on-Funding. It will undertake this task having regard to the overall strategy and policy of Council and the Science Committee, and to the broad financial situation as advised by the executive.

Equality of Opportunity

STFC is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination. Its equality schemes for gender and disability are available at http://www.stfc.ac.uk/1340.aspx. 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 http://www.stfc.ac.uk/stfc/cache/file/C1A23F1A-816B-47DD-8EC9E22A6247861D.pdf

Panel responsibilities

The panel members are requested to:

  • Serve on the panel initially for one term of 3 years
  • Provide a summary of their expertise to facilitate allocation of proposals for review
  • With reference to the assessment criteria, review and make recommendations to the STFC executive on all grant applications to the above schemes
  • Respond in a timely manner to review requests for proposals
  • Attend thrice yearly panel meetings or
  • If unable to attend panel members should submit written comments in a form that can be circulated to other panel members prior to the meeting
  • To comment on and/or make recommendations regarding any other business or partnership applications as required
  • To liaise with other bodies as necessary
  • To report to the Science Committee 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 http://www.stfc.ac.uk/1822.aspx. Please note the assessment criteria on the web page are not the assessment criteria for the IPS scheme.


In general proposals will be made available on the dedicated extranet site before the panel meeting with reviewer comments and PI responses to reviewer comments made available on the site and the panel notified when these are submitted.

Panel members should note that there is no limit to the number of proposals reviewed per panel meeting but as a guide there are generally between 5 and 10 proposals submitted per call. The meeting is generally held over one or two days dependant on the number of proposals submitted for review. Any written comments will be destroyed once the minutes have been ratified by the panel.

All externally employed panel members may claim reimbursement for 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 may, upon prior request in writing, be offered the standard Honorarium day rate for preparation time. The reimbursement will for preparation time will be equivalent to the number of days taken for each panel meeting (i.e. for a one day meeting self-employed, or SME employee panel members will be eligible to claim for one day of preparation time). It is a Swindon office action to arrange payment of the honorarium and to pass this information onto the UKSBS.

Last updated: 31 March 2016

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