Scottish medical school's teaching of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME): FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/01183
Date received: 16 April 2018
Date responded: 24 April 2018

Information requested

1A. You state that the "CSO will seek external independent peer review of received applications…" and that "any successful application will have therefore had its experimental plan reviewed by independent experts…" As set-out in my initial email, given the current teaching in Scottish medical schools of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) as, amongst other things, 'psychosomatic', 'medically unexplained symptoms' and 'functional somatic syndrome', what specifically is meant by "external independent peer review" and who specifically will this involve?

2B. Given the teachings regarding ME within the Scottish medical schools, how is it envisaged that the role of Primary Academic Lead in a PhD for biomedical research in to ME as a neurological disease can be adequately and suitably filled? This would require the Primary Academic Lead to accept the WHO ICD-10 classification of ME as a neurological disease – a position that is completely contrary to what is taught in medical schools.


1A. Independent peer review involves obtaining external independent expert opinion on the applications received as an intergral part of the funding decision making process. Reviewers are asked to score and provide comments against set criteria and are not renumerated for their participation. We identify potential reviewers based on their publication record in the area in question and contact them by email to ask if they would be willing to participate.

For your further infomation we have provided a copy of the standard peer review request email used for this activity (supplemental information - 01). We have also provided a copy of the application form that applicants were required to complete (supplemental information - 02).

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some the information you have requested because an exemption(s) under section(s) Section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the attached.

2B. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained in the attached.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI_18_01183 -Response 01 (3).docx


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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