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6.1 Assessment Criteria

Applicants should note that research grant panels will judge the proposal against the following key assessment categories for Frontier Research programme proposals i.e. consolidated and project (PPRP) grants. The way these criteria are measured will vary according to the nature of the call/scheme and not all criteria will always be relevant. Applicants should therefore refer to the guidelines for the call/scheme for which they are applying for specific details.  This also applies to other STFC calls/schemes e.g. Fellowships, Public Engagement or Knowledge Exchange. Applicants are reminded that peer review is based on evidence provided in a proposal.

High Level Criteria

  • Scientific/Technical excellence: specific objectives of the project.
    eg “The scientific merit of the project and its potential to make a significant contribution to advancement of the area” or “The timeliness of the project”
  • International competitiveness.
    eg “The international relevance of the research, in both European and global arenas”
  • Strategic value within the STFC programme.
    eg “The alignment of the project/facility to STFC strategic objectives and core business activities.”
  • Leadership, planning and project management
    eg “The level of UK leadership and track record in this area” or “The quality of the project management including the project schedule”
  • Social and Economic Impact from the proposed research
    eg “The potential application of technology in other fields”, “Third party professional sector engagement and outreach opportunities (e.g. business, government, NGO engagement)”, “The development of transferable skills supported by STFC”, “inspiring young people to value STEM skills and consider STEM careers”, “Engaging wider society and specific interested/affected demographics with the themes, progress and outcomes of your research” or “creating opportunities for two-way interactions between the research community and society”

Other considerations

Sustainability (of key instrument/construction groups)

In consolidated grant applications panel may also consider the health and critical mass in key instrument/construction groups and how this is maintained, and so the sustainability (e.g. key instruments/construction groups) may also be assessed. Please see the specific call guidance for further information.

Associated studentships

Where applicants are seeking funding for a doctoral studentship to work alongside the grant, applicants should carefully consider whether studentship funding is appropriate.  The doctoral studentship must not be on the critical path for delivery of the grant objectives and should be a discrete project suitable for training a doctoral student. The proposed department must be accredited to award STFC doctoral students. Consideration should be given to

  • The quality and appropriateness of the doctoral project
  • whether the project provides a sound training in research method and techniques.
  • The broader skills training available to the student


Last updated: 04 December 2020


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