Grants Review Committee

The Foundation's Grants Review Committee is responsible on behalf of the Board of Trustees for reviewing grant proposals and prioritising funding for specific research projects.

In supporting research in a manner that is consistent with the purpose, objectives and principles of the Foundation, the Grants Review Committee recommends to the Board of Trustees financial support for research that ensures the allocation of research funds achieves high quality research results and demonstrates to them that a robust mechanism of prioritising of financial support for projects underpins each decision.

It submits a report following its grant reviews to indicate the basis for its funding recommendations, including average scores for each grant, reasons underlying award decisions - positive and negative - and feedback to applicants.

Committee membership

Members of the Grants Review Committee appointed in 2015 for three-year terms are:

Professor Susan Brain, King's College London (Chair)
Dr Anthony Davenport, University of Cambridge
Professor Derek Gilroy, University College London
Professor Andrew Pitsillides, The Royal Veterinary College
Professor Tim Williams, WHRF Trustee
Mr Peter Marshall, WHRF Trustee

2015 grant awards

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2016 grant award

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2017 funding criteria

1. WHRF will select different areas of research each year for which it wishes to encourage grant applications. For 2017, the WHRF invites grant applications that focus on therapeutic innovation in the Foundation’s priority areas of unmet need. These are:

a. Arthritis and Rheumatology
b. Diabetic Kidney Disease
c. Endocrinology - Human Growth Disorders
d. Genomics of Rare Diseases
e. Heart Failure
f. Preventing organ transplant rejections through better Immunotherapy
g. Trauma

2. Priority will be given to:

a. investigations that aim to identify or characterise a new therapeutic target, or provide further validation of a novel target;
b. applications that aim to develop an area sufficiently for funding to be obtained from a major grant-funding body;
c. proposals that foster collaboration between distinct groups within the WHRI or the wider medical school;
d. applications in the areas of diabetic kidney disease and trauma. These areas will be favoured this year, subject to it being an open competition with external peer review to select the highest quality proposals. An application in one of these selected areas will be funded only if it is rated sufficiently highly by the WHRF’s Grants Review Committee, which is mainly composed of independent experts.

3. Funding available:

a. One three-year PhD studentship up to £100k;
b. Project grants up to £50,000 to include salary costs of a named postdoctoral research assistant and consumable costs;
c. Consumables grants up to £10,000 to develop new areas of research;
d. Equipment grants up to £10,000, which can also be used in conjunction with matched funding.

4. Except for the PhD studentship the funding period will be no longer than 12 months with a start date not before 1st February 2018.

5. The principal applicant for each grant proposal must be a staff member of WHRI who is employed by Queen Mary, University of London with an employment contract that is at least for the period of the grant.

6. Applications from WHRI junior researchers are encouraged. Where junior researchers are the principal applicant, a WHRI principal investigator with long-term HEFCE funding, or equivalent, must be nominated as a co-applicant to mentor the junior researcher and ensure that the terms of a grant award are fulfilled.

7. To be eligible for salary support, staff employed on grants should be employees of Queen Mary, University of London that are employed within the WHRI.

8. All proposals will be expected to state clearly the likely research outcomes and demonstrate the public benefit of the research.

9. Grant recipients must be willing to present to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees the outcomes and impact of their research projects supported by the William Harvey Research Foundation, and any potential next steps.

10. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 25th October 2017.

Grants Review Committee - code of conduct

1. The Grants Review Committee of the William Harvey Research Foundation operates under terms of reference and this code of conduct, including the declaration of vested interests, approved by the Board of Trustees. Its provisions apply to Trustees, Grants Review Committee members, applications reviewers and Foundation staff.

2. For each grant round, funding criteria are set by the Board of Trustees in line with the Foundation’s objects, against which the committee members and reviewers assess research proposals, along with their scientific merit, and make their recommendations.

3. The Foundation aims to ensure that research proposals are assessed objectively and impartially. Review by academically-relevant reviewers and an appropriately constituted committee is seen as an essential element of the decision-making process.

4. The role of the Grants Review Committee is advisory. Nevertheless, as part of its commitment to impartiality and the integrity of the review process, the Foundation has agreed this code of conduct.

5. The Board of Trustees relies heavily on the willingness of the relevant academic community to give their time and expertise as reviewers and members of the Grants Review Committee and appreciates their willingness to do so. External, non-Trustee, members of the Grants Review Committee are offered a fee for their participation, and reasonable travel expenses are reimbursed.

6. If the Foundation has reason to believe that a committee member or reviewer has breached this code of conduct, they may be asked to step down as a committee member or reviewer.

7. As a condition of participation, committee members and reviewers agree that documents and correspondence relating to applications for funds and funding are strictly confidential. The following provisions apply.
(i) Applications should not be disseminated beyond the nominated reviewers and committee membership.
(ii) Any printouts of applications or other papers for the Grants Review Committee meeting should be kept secure and disposed of securely after the decision has been reached.
(iii) Applications should not be discussed with anyone outside the review process. No discussion should occur between committee members except during the business of the meeting.
(iv) Committee members and reviewers have the right to expect their comments to be treated in confidence by both the Foundation's staff and other committee members.
(v) Grant applicants will receive anonymised feedback from the reviewers as part of the feedback provided by the Foundation.
(vi) Feedback to candidates (successful or unsuccessful) will be provided by the Foundation alone, to avoid confusion. Committee members and reviewers should not, under any circumstances, provide feedback directly to the candidate.
(vii) Should a reviewer or committee member have a vested interest (organisational, collaborative, personal or other) in the outcome of a grant application they should declare it at the time at which the vested interest becomes known to them or as soon as practical thereafter and withdraw from any consideration of that application.

March 2016

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