Governing Principles for NIAA Convened Grants Committees



The NIAA per se does not have funds to disburse. The NIAA facilitates the disbursement of the funds of its funding partners. Once funding decisions have been made and agreed financial management is the responsibility of the funding partner.

Funding partner:

A member (typically a specialist society) of the NIAA Research Council with funds to disburse. A funding partner retains complete control of the funds of its organisation.

Grants support:

For the purposes of this document NIAA grants support will be that provided by The Royal College of Anaesthetists.

1. Appointment of the Grants Officer

The grants officer shall be appointed by the board of the NIAA and shall have a term of office of five years renewable for a second term of five years subject to approval of the NIAA Board. The grants officer shall be responsible to the NIAA Board through the Chair of the NIAA Research Council. A Grants Officer who intends to demit office would normally be expected to give 6 months notice (equivalent to one round of normal activity as in 3.2).

2. Role of the Grants Officer

2.1 The Grants Officer will oversee the items detailed in sections 3 to 5 with the overall remit of maintaining a process that will further the vision of NIAA to, 'facilitate high profile, influential research' that will be viewed by funding partners, other stakeholders and funding agencies as an impartial, transparent, fair and responsive system.

2.2 The Grants Officer will, with the advice of the NIAA Research Council and NIAA Board, act strategically in promoting (via reports, publications and web presence) the grant processing activities of the NIAA and engage with further potential funding partners involved in research into anaesthesia and its associated specialities.
2.3 Management of conflicts of interest affecting the duties of the Grants Officer (and others involved in grant awards) are detailed in section 6.

3. Organisation of grant awarding activities

3.1 Depending on funding partner involvement the NIAA will normally run two grant rounds per year with call details, closing dates and anticipated decision dates published on the NIAA and funding partner (either directly or via links) websites.
3.2 Grants committee meetings will normally be held in June (R1) and November (R2).
3.3 The NIAA will facilitate other funding calls on an ad hoc basis in response to requests from individual funding partners.

4. Processing of applications and peer review

4.1 All applications will be handled electronically.
4.2 Applications will normally be submitted via MSCentral website although, where appropriate, some rounds may be handled by the grants support team outside of MSCentral.
4.3 Applications will be sent for peer review by the Grants Officer, the grants support team or another appointed person as appropriate and these persons may contact individual funding partners for advice.
4.4 Peer review shall normally involve;

  • 4.4.1 at least three external assessments (as in 4.3)
  • 4.4.2 assessment by a funding partner representative(s) of the category under consideration. If there are a large number of applications more than one representative may be used (see 5.2)
  • 4.4.3 one further committee member assessment as appropriate (see 5.2)
  • 4.4.4 one lay review. If there are a large number of applications more than one representative may be used (see 5.2)
  • 4.4.5 the chair should NOT normally peer review any of the applications

4.5 The grants support team will collate and circulate peer review and lay comments between committee members. Where appropriate the grants support team will produce a score spreadsheet.

5. Grants Committee

5.1 The Grants Officer shall establish committee(s) responsible for consideration of applications from funding calls.
5.2 The Grants Committee shall consist of the Grants Officer and a variable number of other suitably qualified and lay individuals. These individuals will include representatives of the funding partners making up the particular round in question.
5.3 Grant awards shall be made based on external peer review, committee peer review (4.4) and where appropriate by vote. Individual funding partners have the right to veto a decision regarding use of their own funds.
5.4 The Grants Officer, a representative of one of the funding partners in a particular round or a senior researcher shall chair the Grants Committee (see 6).
5.5 Grant categories will be presented to the committee by representative(s) of the respective funding partners (for example; OAA representative(s) will present these applications and their associated peer review to the whole committee).
5.6 The Grants Committee may take advice and invite any third parties to its meetings where this is appropriate in determining disbursement of funds.
5.7 The Grants Officer shall ensure that minutes are kept of the proceedings of the Grants Committee and that suitably blinded versions of these are circulated to;

  • 5.7.1 representatives of the funding partner organisations to whom the minutes relate
  • 5.7.2 members of NIAA Research Council
  • 5.7.3 if appropriate also to the members of the NIAA Board

5.8 The Grants Officer and grants team shall communicate award decisions with;

  • 5.8.1 all applicants (funded and not funded)
  • 5.8.2 representatives of the funding partner organisations whose funds are being disbursed and their organisation treasurer/administrative officer.

6. Dealing with conflicts of interest

From a research perspective anaesthesia is a relatively small speciality and as such there is a reasonable likelihood that committee members may know, work in the same Department or have other affiliations with applicants. This will usually not be apparent until after the closing date for applications.

6.1 Funding partners' representatives should be selected to reduce the likelihood of conflict within their own category. These representatives may still participate in the committee if they have submitted to another category (as in 6.2) but the chair may request them to leave the room during conflicted discussions.
6.2 It is acceptable to have conflicts with other categories but these must be declared and the member must not be involved in any part of the peer review process relating to the conflicted application.
6.3 The chair may request any conflicted member to leave the room during discussion of the conflicted application or category.
6.4 The Grants Officer should pass the chair to another member of the committee if there is an application from his/her department. That chair may request the Grants Officer to leave the room.
6.5 If there is an application from the Grants Officer or his/her institution he/she may still administer the process in 4 and 5 but must hand over processing of the category(ies) in which he has conflict to another committee member, ideally the funding partner representative and must play no part in the review process.

Professor DG Lambert October 2011