Demystifying EPSRC Peer Review

Navigating the Funding Process from Submission to Funding Decision

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Anyone who wants to get started on the right track when writing an EPSRC proposal: understanding the twists and turns of the funding process will save you time and energy down the road.


"Je-S? JoR? National importance? Theme? LoS? Project partner? Academic collaborator? Siebel? Going to panel? Funding meeting? PTI? Oh, wait, that's not required any more ..."

The peer review process at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) can sometimes feel like a maze. And it's no wonder: there is a lot of information to consider each step of the way, and a lot of misinformation has been handed down over the years. It can be challenging to know which way to turn.

The Demystifying EPSRC Peer Review course was developed to provide a behind-the-scenes map for researchers: see who does what at EPSRC, learn potential pitfalls to watch out for, and explore what happens after a proposal is submitted for a new investigator award, standard mode grant, or fellowship proposal.

Throughout the journey, we will also tackle the most common myths so that incorrect assumptions and mistaken beliefs can be avoided, and your proposal can start from a solid foundation of clarity and understanding.


  • Look behind the scenes to see what happens when a proposal is submitted
  • Discover where they can potentially have more of an influence when writing their proposal
  • Avoid common pitfalls and mistakes
  • Understand the internal organisation and who does what at EPSRC
  • Get tips about how not to write a PI response
  • See what happens at a prioritisation panel
  • Explore common myths that are held about the EPSRC funding process
  • Consider both sides of the review process, as an applicant and a reviewer
  • Ask questions or get clarification about the process through live Q&A sessions

Demystifying EPSRC Peer Review does not cover how to write a proposal, although general proposal tips are provided in Module 3.

Your Instructor

Dr Elaine Massung
Dr Elaine Massung

Over the past two decades, Dr Elaine Massung has carried out a variety of roles in higher education: post-doctoral research assistant, copy editor and proofreader, and portfolio manager at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. She started Academic Smartcuts to help researchers establish positive habits and build a strong foundation for their career.

Course Curriculum

  Module 1: Introduction
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  Module 3: General Proposal Tips
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  Module 4: Peer Review Process
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  Module 5: The Proposal
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  Module 6: The Prioritisation Panel
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
This is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish. You can access it as often as you wish and replay modules whenever required.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if there are changes or updates to the course?
All future changes to the course are included in your initial enrollment. Indeed, I already have plans to add captions and give the slides a much-needed facelift to go with the Blue Eagle Academic Services re-brand, so look out for that in the next few months!
Is this applicable to all of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation)?
This course was designed specifically based on my experiences working as a portfolio manager at EPSRC and focuses on EPSRC's policies, procedures, and processes. Although some of the general tips are likely applicable to other research councils and funding bodies, I recommend checking with them about their specific requirements and processes.
Is the information provided in this course applicable for calls?
The Demystifying EPSRC Peer Review course focuses on proposals that go through a standard peer review process, which is expert peer review followed by a prioritisation panel. This includes new investigator awards, standard mode (a.k.a. responsive mode), and fellowships. While some aspects, such as the general proposal tips or principles of peer review, will be applicable regardless of the process used, calls typically follow different processes and may have different assessment criteria.
What if I have a question about the course or its content, or something that's not answered here?
Contact Elaine at [email protected] if you would like any additional information about the Demystifying Peer Review course, if any of the course content is unclear, or you have a question that's not covered in the FAQ.

Hear from previous participants of the Demystifying EPSRC Peer Review course:

  • The course was extremely well received by our academic community as it shed light on a reviewing process that can often be perceived as daunting and opaque. The course provided invaluable advice on how to construct a successful proposal, including advice on how to avoid the most common pitfalls of grant applications. The feedback from our members of staff was overwhelmingly positive!

  • We ran the peer review course for early career researchers, but it would also be beneficial to later stage PhD students preparing manuscripts to give them awareness of the processes behind peer-review. Elaine importantly reminds us throughout this course to reflect on how the information is coming across to the reviewer, the importance of seeking input from colleagues before submission and our professional conduct.

    Elaine has continued to support our researchers following the face-to-face course participation(s) and we look forward to continuing our engagement and working with Elaine in future. Her professionalism, positivity and attention to detail are outstanding, I cannot recommend her enough.

  • See what clients say about Blue Eagle Academic Services

Get started now!


No worries! Check out the free session Areas of Influence: Seven Overlooked Aspects of Writing an EPSRC Proposal for more information about the peer review process.