Conflict of Interest

Guts UK’s Conflict of Interest Policy

  • Members of the RAC are expected to declare any conflict of interest at the beginning of the scoring process for applications. Conflicts of interest are defined below but RAC members should inform Guts UK as soon as they become aware of any other conflict of interest with an application.
  • RAC members should not review applications that have been submitted from their employing institution, or from applicants with whom they have a personal relationship. The RAC member must not take part in the discussion of the relevant application and should leave the room during the discussion.
  • RAC members can apply for grants but no more than 50% of the members of the committee should be actively in receipt of grants from the charity. Trustees can also apply for grants, but if research funding is awarded to a Trustee of the charity, this must be done in accordance with the Charity Commission rules in Annex A (Conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees). RAC members, including Trustees, who apply for a grant whether as the main applicant, a co-applicant or a collaborator, must not review that application, must not take part in the discussion of the relevant application and should leave the room during the discussion.
  • If the RAC member has co-authored with the applicant or joint co-applicant in the last five years, the RAC member should not review that application. This might require further discussion between the RAC member and the Chair, to clarify the degree of conflict.
  • A member of the RAC who is an applicant, co-applicant or collaborator on an application should not see reviewers’ reports on their application.
  • When the final decision regarding funding is not clear-cut, a member of the RAC who has a conflict of interest with one of the competing applications must not be in a position to influence the final decision. They should take no part in the discussion about selecting the winning applicant and their scores or comments on competing applications should not be considered.
  • The Chair of the RAC should not make an application for funding during his/her term of office.

External peer reviewers

  • Applications will be scored initially by the RAC, or on occasions a subset of the RAC, to identify short-listed proposals that can be sent for external review, including international reviewers if possible. At least two external reviews will be sought for short-listed applications. Grants for less than £25,000 and under a year in duration do not need external peer review as per AMRC’s guidelines, though this can still be sought if appropriate expertise is not available within the RAC.
  • External reviewers will be identified by a variety of methods, such as suggested by the Trustee for Research, by the applicant, by the RAC member leading on the application or by other RAC members with suitable expertise, or by external reviewers suggested by the aforementioned methods that are unable to review the application at that time.
  • External reviewers will be asked to confirm that they do not have a conflict of interest with the applicants.
  • Only external reviewers who have not published in the last five years with the applicant or co-applicants will be asked to review.
  • Should reviews be received where a conflict of interest is later discovered RAC members will not take these reviews into consideration when making the awarding decision.