Research and grant proposals

The refereeing process here is more like refereeing papers, but it is a good deal more demanding. A great deal is at stake when one recommends acceptance or rejection of a research proposal costing several thousands of pounds. Referees in this context have to be authorities in the field, and they should possibly decline to do the task if they think they are not. Gade et al. (2006) indicate that the reviewer's report has to be thorough, clear, specific, constructive and timely. Referees are typically asked to assess, often with rating scales, the quality of the proposal, the appropriateness of the time-scale for the research, the costs involved and the competence of the researchers to carry it out. Often, an overall grading is required: A++ = well above average; A= above average; B = good etc. Refereeing a grant proposal is not easy, and not all A++ proposals get funded. Furthermore, there is evidence here of gender bias in favour of men (Bornmann et al, 2007).

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