Funding application review process

Find out about our approach to reviewing our research grant applications.

We want to fund the best possible research that will bring benefit to women living with ovarian cancer. Our review process incorporates a triage round followed by invited full applications for project proposals aligned most closely with our research priorities. The outline project proposals will be reviewed by our Scientific Advisory Board members and lay research champions

Our review process is unique compared to other ovarian cancer research funders as we combine:

  • meaningful lay review by our lay research champions who both attend and help score both project proposals and invited full applications at our selection meetings

  • our world-renowned Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) provide the charity with independent advice and score both project proposals and invited full applications in conjunction with our lay reviewer research champions

  • the use of international peer review to ensure an independent review of all the invited full applications

Our review process meets the gold standard for grant review in accordance with the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) guidelines. As Target Ovarian Cancer is not tied to a research centre we can ensure we select the most talented researchers, best science and innovative projects to fund wherever they are in the UK.

Lay review

We strongly believe that the research community needs to embrace the insight women with ovarian cancer, their friends and relatives can bring to all aspects of the research process. We fully embrace Patient Public Involvement (PPI). The role of lay review is not to judge the scientific methodology of an application but to assess its importance to women with ovarian cancer and the practicalities around clinical studies. Lay reviewers will ask the Scientific Advisory Board challenging questions about the quality of the science proposed.

Our lay reviewers are drawn from our research champions and receive the project proposals and invited full applications in advance to review and inform discussions at our grant selection meetings. For both project proposals and invited full applications all our applicants must complete a series of lay questions about their proposal on their proposal/application form and if they fail to use suitable lay language their proposal/application is suspended. Additionally, we ask all applicants to outline the lay view has informed the development their invited full applications.

Peer review

Two external reviews are required for each invited full application, in line with requirements of the UK’s Association of Medical Research Charities. They are responsible for writing formal critiques of the research proposals in advance of the SAB meetings. The external reviewers do not participate in the SAB discussions.

The key criteria include:

  • innovation – potential for change in paradigm or seminal discovery

  • addressing a critical scientific gap

  • likelihood of the proposal achieving its stated aims

  • impact on accelerating discovery, development, or evaluation of ovarian cancer therapeutics

  • likelihood of obtaining other funding

Please note the information above complements our standard conditions of grant [PDF], which must be read and approved as part of the invited full application process.