Grading, appeals and report extensions

We assign each research grant a final grade following peer review.

Grading scale

Projects can be awarded one of the following six grades:

  • Outstanding: Research of the highest international quality and impact, with publications submitted to (or published in) leading journals or other academic outlets; and/or high quality research with evidence of major impact on policy and practice.

  • Very Good: Research of strong international quality and strong impact within its field, with publications submitted to (or published in) leading journals or other academic outlets; and/or high quality research with evidence of substantial impact on policy and practice.

  • Good: Research of international quality and good impact within its field, with publications submitted to (or published in) well-regarded journals or other academic outlets; and/or high quality research with some evidence of impact on policy and practice.

  • Satisfactory: Research of good national standard and some impact within its field, with publications submitted to (or published in) good research outlets; and/or high quality research with likely future impact on policy and practice.

  • Weak: Research of sub-national standard and no impact within its field, with no publications submitted to (or published in) good research outlets. Or work that has failed to address some of the objectives agreed with the ESRC for reasons within the grant holder's control.

  • Unacceptable: Research of poor standard, with no publications submitted to (or published in) good research outlets. Or work that has failed to address most of the objectives agreed with the ESRC for reasons within the grant holder's control.

Appeals

You may submit a request for an amendment to the overall grant grade if you feel that there has been any irregularity in the evaluation process. A case for appeal must be received by ESRC within four weeks of notification of the grade. 

If your project has been assigned a Weak grade, you will need to provide written evidence that the matters that led to the grade being assigned have been addressed.

In the case of Unacceptable grades, a new End of Award Report must be submitted, or the 'Key Findings' section on the Research Outcomes System must be amended (whichever is applicable to your grant). 

Amendment requests are considered by a member of the relevant ESRC Committee. 

ESRC cannot withdraw any comments made by rapporteurs. The identities of rapporteurs remain confidential to ESRC at all times.

Extensions to final reporting deadlines

In exceptional circumstances, the ESRC Evaluation, Strategy and Analysis team may agree to extend the deadline for reporting via the RCUK Research Outcomes System (ROS), if requested prior to the reporting date. You should send requests extending the final reporting process, including full reasons, to anna.billingham@esrc.ac.uk.

Please note that the Evaluation team cannot extend the term of the grant itself. For queries about grant extensions, please contact your case officer in the first instance. These should then be made via the Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) system.