Posted on: 05/07/2021

Following the ‘yellow brick road’ of peer review: An Insight Series date for your diary

Peer review helps research councils and other funders figure out which grants to fund.

Taking time to think about, plan, write, re-write and submit your research grant is simply the first step in the process of funding research. Once you nervously click the ‘submit now’ button, the whole thing may feel like Dorothy stepping on the yellow brick road for the first time, with great excitement and trepidation, waiting to see if the great wizard(s) will grant you your wish.

You may wonder what happens to your grant between submitting it and that terrifying moment when you get an email from the funder asking you to respond to peer review? To many, this is an overwhelming moment of uncertainty as you connect with the great wizard(s) reviewing the research proposal you have spent months developing. Then what does the funder do with your response after that? Do the panels take any stock in those? How do panels weigh them up against the reviewer comments? What do the wizards ‘behind the curtain’ actually pay attention to?

Proposals for funding are taken through a rigorous assessment process by the funder, which has been honed by the research councils over many years.

Join us at our online Insight Series event on Mon 19 Jul when we will walk through the steps of peer review and have the opportunity meet and talk with Ben Yarnall, a Programme Manager for peer review policy at the Medical Research Council… and, hopefully, we can make the yellow brick road to funding road a little clearer.

SIGN UP NOW for our online event “How to Peer Review Panels Work?”

Monday 19 Jul 10:00 – 11:30

An introductory session to the best way to present your work to Peer Review Panels, with opportunities to apply theory to your own research.

About our guest speaker

Ben Yarnall – Programme Manager for peer review policy at the Medical Research Council

I co-ordinate and implement peer review policy across the MRC funding schemes and represent MRC’s peer review interests in cross council UKRI activities. I work to understand how existing policies support our goal, improving human health through world-class medical research, and where they could be refined. I get to work with people across UKRI, other funding organisations and throughout the research community. Part of the role I really care about is championing equality and diversity within peer review and funding decisions.

I hold a PhD from the University of Southampton, have worked supporting Cancer Research UK’s policy funding body and briefly worked in industry. I enjoy most outdoor activities and have spent lockdown training our new dog. She can spin and fetch but is still learning the command, “Don’t you eat those chips”.

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