When scrutinising research applications, peer-group assessment is used. This means that the assessment is carried out by the researchers' colleagues. Every year a large number of Swedish and foreign researchers – all specialists within their fields – participate in the review procedure in order to carry out as impartial assessment as possible.
Peer review, i.e. researchers with competence scrutinising other researchers' work, is part of the qualified quality scrutiny we carry out so as to sift out the very best researchers and projects.
The review panels that scrutinise the applications are primarily appointed by the Swedish Research Council's scientific councils, council and committees.
Around 800 researchers on around 90 review panels and committees assess the applications received. They are responsible for each application being processed correctly.
The number of members of an review panel may vary, but is usually between five and eleven. The members have a wide academic and geographical spread, and the panels consist of foreign researchers who can contribute with an international perspective. Foreign members are also included when there is a lack of Swedish experts within a particular field, i.e. because of the risk of conflict of interest. External specialists, i.e. experts who are not members of the review panels, are also used sometimes for assessing applications.
In accordance with the Research Council's equality strategy, review panels should aim for an even spread between the sexes and also grants of similar size.
The composition of the review panels is constantly changing and adapted to different ventures. The term of office for a member is one year, but this can be extended for a maximum period of six years. When a member applies for a grant, he or she cannot be a member of the review panel which will deal with his/her own application.