review process

The Borne Foundation is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and follows their guidelines for best practice in peer review.

Grants are awarded on scientific merit in relation to Borne’s research strategy and on the basis of open competition. The quality of the application and applicants is the key determinant of outcome.


Applications are initially vetted by Borne’s COO and the Chair of Borne’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to:

  • Ensure proposals are of scientific and strategic interest to the charity
  • Identify those proposals that are uncompetitive and therefore unlikely to be awarded funding
  • Evaluate methods, statistical analyses and experimental design aspects of the proposals to confirm if suitable and sufficiently detailed information is provided to convince peer reviewers that the proposed experiments will be carried out appropriately to produce robust and reproducible research


Applications that pass triage are sent out for external expert peer review where expertise is required from another field. The number of external peer reviewers consulted will depend on the size of the grant, e.g. an award for up to £500,000 will be reviewed by 4 expert peer reviewers, who are asked to score and comment on the applications based on an objective and consistent set of criteria; a project grant award for up to £250,000 will be reviewed by 2-4 peer reviewers depending on the nature of the application and the expert opinion required. The peer review panel is established by the SAB.

Scoring is based on a predefined set of criteria, including:

  • The credentials of the investigator group
  • Quality of the research and methods proposed
  • Research environment and logistics
  • Resources requested
  • Data management plan


SAB grant review meetings are held twice a year where applications and peer review feedback are discussed before funding recommendations are made to the Board.


Those applications recommended for funding by the SAB are presented to the charity’s trustees for final approval.

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