NHMRC relies on peer review to judge the relative quality of research proposals competing for funding and this can only occur with the assistance of the researchers who participate on the peer review panels. Good peer review relies on the fact and the perception that it is fair, informed, expert, able to identify quality and generally able to undertake the task without fear or favour.
To maintain a high level of independence and increase the transparency of the peer review process, the NHMRC Assigners Academy has been established to assist with these processes. The Assigners Academy is a prestigious body of researchers who provide independent advice to the CEO on matters related to the administration of NHMRC’s peer review process.
The NHMRC Assigners Academy is responsible for assisting the CEO with key peer review tasks. In particular, it assists to identify external assessors and monitoring the successful completion of their reports for applications received under the Project and Program Grants schemes. Its contribution provides a more streamlined and efficient process for the submission of external assessments that are considered by peer review panels when reviewing applications.
Where requested by the CEO, Assigners Academy members—in areas in which they have relevant expertise—will:
- Identify external assessor(s) and secure their written assessment(s) for applications received by NHMRC for research support schemes and monitor the delivery of those reports;
- Provide advice on potential experts who may be invited by NHMRC to participate in peer review panels, taking into consideration disciplinary composition, gender and institutional spread and relevant research and/or clinical experience;
- Provide advice on the allocation of received applications to the appropriate peer review discipline area;
- Adhere to the NHMRC Principles of Peer Review and to obligations under the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research ; and
- Participate in other elements of peer review and/or provide ongoing advice as required.