Code of Conduct

For Applicants, Reviewers and Members of the Research Grants Committee.

The Abbeyfield Research Foundation has a duty to ensure that all applications are handled in a transparent and appropriate manner, and that all applications are judged solely on scientific merit and their alignment with the Foundation’s Research Strategy.

In order to protect the integrity of the grants procedure, members of the Research Grants Committee (RGC), peer reviewers and all applicants must abide by the code of conduct, set out below. If a committee member or an applicant is thought to have breached the code of conduct, he or she may be asked to withdraw their application or to resign from the committee.

1. Confidentiality

1.1 The confidentially of all applications is paramount. This includes the applications, the identity of the peer reviewers, the confidential comments made by the reviewers or the discussion of the application by the RGC.

1.2 No information or papers regarding the above points should be discussed or disseminated by either a reviewer or a member of the RGC to anyone outside of the committee meeting. Applications must not be discussed outside of a committee meeting (even between committee members or reviewers), without prior permission from the Foundation.

1.3 No contact must be made by any reviewer or member of the RGC with applicants regarding their application unless it is made officially through the Foundation.

2. Conflicts of Interest

2.1 All reviewers and members of the RGC must declare any conflict of interest as soon as they are aware of it.

2.2 If any member of the RGC is connected in any way with a grant application, they must absent themselves from the room when the application is being discussed. The result of the discussion must not be shared with that member until they have been officially informed of the decision of the RGC by the Foundation.

2.3 A committee member will be said to have a connection with an application if he or she is;

a. the principal or named applicant

b. a named collaborator

c. a relative of one of the grant applicants

d. a business partner of one of the grant applicants

e. a member or employee of the same university, or other institutions, as one of the grant applicants. For category (e.) the University of London will not be considered as a single institution and some discretion may be exercised by the Chair in determining the nature of any potential conflict and the procedure required (e.g. non-participation versus physical absence), provided this is clearly minuted.

2.4 The Chair of the RGC and other members of the Board of Trustees are prohibited from applying for grants from the Foundation as Principal Applicant for the duration of their term of office.

3. Applicants

3.1 The decision making process is also confidential. Applicants must not seek information from any member of the RGC either before or after a decision on the application has been made.

3.2 Applicants are invited to contact the Foundation’s research grants administrator to discuss potential proposals before submitting a full application. Any further inquiries regarding the progress of the grant or requests for more detailed feedback must also be addressed to the research grants administrator.

3.3 Attempting to contact any member of the RGC regarding an application will be seen as a serious breach of the code of conduct and may result in the application being rejected.