The funding review process
Against Breast Cancer (ABC) is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and all applications will be assessed following the AMRC guidelines for peer review best practice.
All grant applications are reviewed for scientific merit, uniqueness, applicant experience and viability within the proposed budget in an independent and impartial manner.
Our reviewers include an independent external panel of international scientists with expertise in the relevant fields, selected by ABC. They provide comments around the aspects listed above and an impact score (1 = poor, 9 = exceptional).
Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprises expert scientists and clinicians in areas including oncology, glycobiology, immunology, epidemiology and chemistry. They will also review applications for scientific merit, uniqueness, applicant experience and viability and provide an impact score. Alongside our expert scientists, our board includes a panel of patient and public Research Advocates (lay reviewers) who will provide comments and a ranking score regarding the relevance of the proposed projects to breast cancer patients.
All reviewers have signed confidentiality agreements and agree to adhere to our Conflict of Interest policy.
Seed Grant Application Review
Following a Call for Proposals by ABC, Seed grant applicants are asked to complete a full research application.
- All applications are initially triaged by the Research Manager to ensure they are aligned with the Research Strategy of the charity.
- Applications for Seed grants (less than £50,000 and for a term of less than 1 year) will be assessed by at least two external scientific experts and at least two members of our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) based on their relevant expertise and at least two Research Advocates (lay reviewers). If the SAB do not feel they have the relevant expertise, the application will be reviewed by at least three external scientific experts.
- Applicants may be given the opportunity to respond to questions and/or suggestions made by the external peer reviewers or the SAB and asked to submit a revised proposal where a good idea is recognised but some changes to the proposal are required before funding can be considered.
- During a final discussion meeting, with a quorum of 50% or more SAB scientific members present, applications with an average impact score of 6 or above will be discussed by the SAB and Research Advocates. The Advocate relevance ranking will be considered alongside the scientific merits. A final ranking score will be given and recommendations passed to the Trustees for their funding approval.
- All applicants will receive feedback on their proposals regardless of success.
Successful applicants will be sent a Grant Award Letter to be signed by the lead applicant and the host institution in order to accept the grant and its Terms and Conditions. Grant Holders will be required to provide a mid-term project update and a final report.
Follow-on Project Grant Application Review
ABC Seed Grant holders reaching the end of their initial project term may be invited to apply for further funding from ABC as part of a follow-on project grant, subject to successful completion of seed grant milestones. Project grants may be greater than £50,000 per annum and up to 4 years in length.
- Applicants will be requested to provide a full research application which will be sent for external peer review by at least two scientific experts in the appropriate field who did not review the initial seed grant application. Applicants may suggest peer reviewers to approach and reviewers to exclude but the decision will be at the discretion of ABC. Peer reviewers will provide an impact score and comments that will be passed to the SAB for their review and consideration.
- During a final discussion meeting, with a quorum of 50% or more SAB members present, applications will be discussed by the SAB before recommendations are passed to the Trustees for their funding approval.
- Applicants will receive feedback on their proposals regardless of success.
Project grant holders will be required to provide 6-monthly project updates and may also be asked to present project progress annually at a meeting of the SAB.
Single Institution Funding Review
Against Breast Cancer are funding a long-term research programme at the University of Southampton. As part of the review process, we have introduced a quinquennial review that assesses the on-going quality, strategy and direction of the research. This is undertaken by an independent panel of experts and results are fed back to the SAB and Trustees for approval of continued funding.
Grant holders within the institution are required to provide 6-monthly project updates, and asked to present project progress annually at a meeting of the SAB.