Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Become a reviewer

We recruit and support patients, carers and members of the public to give feedback on health and social care research funding applications.

It's a nice feeling to know that you are part of something that will help change and improve things in the bigger picture.
Rosie Forder - Public Reviewer

As well as members of the public, reviews are sought from health care professionals, researchers, health economists and other professionals.  This means that you only need to give us your opinion based on your experience of being a patient, carer or user of health and social care services.

What will happen if you are invited to do a review?

You can sign up to review potential research through our online Reviewer Match service.

Once you have registered as a public reviewer, you may be invited to review research proposals.

The type of documents you may be asked to review include a research or commissioning brief and a research funding application.

To demonstrate our gratitude to our reviewers and acknowledge the important work they do, the names of the past year's reviewers can be found on our reviewers list.

What is a research or commissioning brief?

A research or commissioning brief is developed by the NIHR. It describes a potential area of research.  A public reviewer will help decide whether the proposed research topic should be advertised. Researchers can then apply to do research in the advertised area.

What is a research funding application?

Researchers applying for NIHR funding complete a form describing what research they want to do and how they want to do it. A public reviewer will help to inform the funding committee as to whether the research should be funded.

 You would read the documents at home and submit comments online.

The reviewing process 

  1. The proposal - We receive a document proposing a research study.
  2. The right match - The research topic of the document is matched to a member of the public who has personal experience as a patient, carer or member of the public who is affected by the issues being researched.
  3. The review - The patient, carer or member of the public reads and assesses the application’s strengths and weaknesses.
  4. The funding decision -  Public, professional and scientific reviewers’ comments are fed back  to researchers applying for funding and to the research advisory committee which makes funding decisions.

Guidance and support

We’ve developed an interactive training course for the public on reviewing funding applications for research. The training includes a module on things to consider when reviewing a research commissioning brief or funding application.

We provide guidance on what's involved in the review process for research proposals across NIHR funding programmes. Please refer to one of the following documents, depending on which programme you may be interested in.

For the following programmes please refer to guidance for public reviewers of research funding applications. We also offer a template of the form for reviewing research proposals, so you can see what questions you'll be asked to consider.

  • NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i)
  • NIHR Policy Research Programme (PRP)
  • NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)
  • NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)

For these programmes, please refer to Guidance for completing a review task :

  • NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME)
  • NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
  • NIHR Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR)
  • NIHR Public Health Research (PHR)

Payment for reviewing work might affect those in receipt of state benefits or those working in the public sector.