Publication - FOI/EIR release

Peer reviews for specific funded health research grant awards/projects: FOI release

Published: 29 Mar 2019

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

Published:
29 Mar 2019
Peer reviews for specific funded health research grant awards/projects: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00572
Date received: 26 Feb 2019
Date responded: 25 Mar 2019
Information requested


Please could you send all the peer reviews for all the projects in the spreadsheet Data 07 that you sent on 17 January. It would be helpful if the peer review scores were added as new columns in the spreadsheet with the result of funding if modifications were requested.

 

Response


For clarity, I am providing a response to your request in two parts.

Response to your request – PART 1

Your Request: “Please could you send all the peer reviews for all the projects in the spreadsheet Data 07 that you sent to me on 17 January.”

 I enclose relevant information for 31 of the 57 projects in spreadsheet Data 07.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have all of the information you have requested for each of the 57 projects.  The reasons we do not have all the information you have requested are explained in the Annex A to this letter. To assist in the identification of which projects have had peer review information provided under this request and those that have not, a summary table has been provided at Annex B. I would draw your attention to the notes to that table which explain that for most projects where peer reviews have not been provided this is because the relevant awards are not subject to the peer review process.

In addition, some exemptions apply to some parts of the information you have requested; and, for 2 specific projects included in spreadsheet Data 07, the information supplied has been extracted from wider documents.  Annex A explains this in a little more detail.


Response to your request – PART 2

Your request: “It would be helpful if the peer review scores were added as new columns in the spreadsheet with the result of funding if modifications were requested.”

Under section 25(1) of FOISA (Information otherwise accessible), we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. The information you have requested in relation to peer review scores per project is available to you to compile through a combination of the information provided under this Freedom of Information request (FOI/19/00572) with information previously provided in response to a previous Freedom of Information request from you (FOI/18/01963).  

By way of additional background on this particular point, we do not collate peer review scores in the way that you have requested as we have no business need or legal obligation to do so. This is because the committees and panels reviewing grant applications use all of the information available to them including the detailed applications, the peer review comments and scores, the applicants’ responses to comments and the comments and discussions within the relevant committee or panel meetings themselves in order to come to judgements about the importance, potential impact, feasibility and value for money of applications. Funding recommendations are then made having taken all of those factors into account, without undue weight given to the peer review scores. 

In relation to the latter part your request, I can confirm that all the projects contained within the spreadsheet Data07  were funded.

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION - ANNEX A

The Scottish Government does not have the information

The Scottish Government does not have all of the information you have asked for because it does not hold peer review information for 26 of the 57 project references requested. The reasons for this are outlined at Annex B.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have all of the information you have requested.  An exemption applies

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some parts of the information requested and supplied because it is personal data of a third party, for example names of individuals or other personal data, and that information has been redacted. Disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. This information where present has been redacted from the information provided.

Specific to MMPP/01 and  HIPS/16/62 – Provision of extract information

Information provided for these  project reference numbers is an extract from wider documents held by the Scottish Government which contained other information outside the scope of your request. Accordingly we are providing an extract of the relevant information that is within the scope of your request.

Specific to SCAF/16/03 - An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice the conduct of public affairs) applies to some the information you have requested because it relates to information held by the Scottish Government provided to an external organisation from a third party about an identifiable individual under a confidentiality clause that these comments would not be released to the candidate. 

In this instance the disclosure of this information, which has been gained in confidence, could lead to a lack of trust in the government and could result in the further use of this question or any information gathered from this source in the future not being fully correct in fear of the information being disclosed. This would result in the government not being able to make fully informed decisions with this information or similar information and would therefore prejudice the conduct of public affairs.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  

We recognise that there is some public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in the appropriate handling of information provided “in-confidence” to public authorities or other organisations, and the trust placed in these organisations when members of the public do so. 

We have therefore found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption in this case. 

ANNEX B

SUMMARY OF INFORMATION PROVIDED

Grant Reference Number

Information Provided

CAF/17/01

Yes

CAF/17/11

Yes

CF/CSO/03

No

CGA/16/44

No

CGA/16/45

No

CGA/17/02

No

CGA/17/04

No

CGA/17/07

No

CGA/17/08

No

CGA/17/14

No

CGA/17/15

No

CGA/17/16

No

CGA/17/17

No

CGA/17/19

No

CGA/17/22

No

CGA/17/24

No

CGA/17/26

No

CGA/17/27

No

CGA/17/29

No

CGA/17/33

No

CGA/17/41

No

CGA/17/46

No

CGA/17/49

No

ETM/414

Yes

HIPS/16/01

Yes

HIPS/16/44

Yes

HIPS/16/45

Yes

HIPS/16/46

Yes

HIPS/16/62

Yes

HIPS/16/63

Yes

HIPS/17/10

Yes

HIPS/17/15

Yes

HIPS/17/18

Yes

HIPS/17/23

Yes

HIPS/17/26

Yes

MMPP/01

Yes

PCL/17/01

No

PCL/17/03

No

PCL/17/04

No

PCL/17/07

No

PCL/17/10

No

SCAF/16/03

Yes

SCAF/17/01

Yes

SCAF/17/02

Yes

SCAF/17/03

Yes

TCS/16/21

Yes

TCS/16/37

Yes

TCS/16/38

Yes

TCS/16/47

Yes

TCS/16/55

Yes

TCS/16/60

Yes

TCS/17/05

Yes

TCS/17/06

Yes

TCS/17/14

Yes

TCS/17/15

Yes

TCS/17/31

Yes

TCS/18/01

Yes

Notes on table 1

1) CF/CSO/03 was an extension to a pre-existing award and was therefore not subject to peer review.

2) Catalytic Grant Awards (CGA) and Postdoctural Clinical Lectureship (PCL) awards are not subject to a peer review process for the reasons described below: 

Catalytic Grant Awards (CGA)
The CGA scheme is for small, short projects to provide key supporting evidence to underpin subsequent applications to other research funders. Rapid review of applications is an important factor to achieving the scheme’s aim. Applications are therefore reviewed internally (and not scored) with decisions made generally within one month of application,  instead of being submitted to a longer peer review and committee review process. 

Postdoctural Clinical Lectureship awards (PCL)
Peer review is not required for these small awards as they are not project grants but instead contribute to the recipients’ cost of consumables and attendance at two conferences to present their work. They are awarded to medical trainees who have obtained a training post with 50% protected academic time. 

3) Where applications are subject to peer review under CSO response mode grants, the process for that, and for additionally obtaining initial comments from selected committee members, is outlined on the CSO website at: https://www.cso.scot.nhs.uk/funding-2/response-mode-funding-schemes/

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
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