Grant selection process

We want the money we give to research to have the biggest possible impact. That’s why we have a rigorous system to decide who receives our funding.

How we’ll assess your research grant application

Generally, we operate a response mode grant funding system. This means we ask applicants to come up with their own research ideas and put them forward as funding applications. Ideas must fall within our remit and meet the specific terms of an individual funding stream. We may also offer research funding to tackle a specific question we’re interested in. 

For the majority of our funding streams, in the first instance interested applicants are asked to complete and submit a preliminary application form. This requests top-level information about the proposed work and the budget requested. Preliminary applications are shortlisted by our research committee and successful applicants are invited to submit a full application. Our committee members are:

  • Professor Stephen Holgate (committee chair)
  • Helen Ashley (Patient/carer representative)
  • Professor Peter Bradding
  • Professor James Chalmers
  • Professor Judy Coulson
  • Dr Nick Hopkinson
  • Dr Rachel Jordan
  • Professor Stefan Marciniak
  • Dr Frank McCaughan
  • Dr Suzanne Miller
  • Dr Elizabeth Sage
  • Professor Sejal Saglani
  • Dr Elizabeth Sapey
  • Dr Chris Scotton
  • Lizzi Stephens (Patient/carer representative)
  • Dr Amanda Tatler

Committee members are not allowed to evaluate applications from their own university or research institution. During their 3-year term, members can be awarded a maximum of one British Lung Foundation grant and cannot take part in the review of their own application. The chair cannot be awarded a grant during their term.

 

For information on the registered conflicts of interest of our research committee members, please contact the research team at research@blf.org.uk

Full applications are then evaluated through an external peer review process. This involves asking leading, relevant respiratory experts from all over the world to submit a written evaluation of the application. 

Next, the research committee meets to discuss each full application, and the comments and scores given by external peer reviewers. At this meeting, the committee ranks full applications and recommends which merit funding. Senior charity staff then take the recommendations for the fundable proposals and match these with funds available and consider fit with our research strategy, distributing available funds to recommended applications in order of rank. A proposal is then made to the charity’s board of trustees, who consider the proposal and funding available. Final approval for grant awards is made by the trustees. 

Our external peer review systems have been awarded a Best Practice in Medical and Health Research Peer Review certificate by the Association of Medical Research Charities.

Lay evaluation

Every application for one of our grants includes a summary of the proposed study written in non-scientific language. Patient/carer representative members of the research committee evaluate these. Their job is to assess the potential impact of the work for people living with lung disease and how well the applicant can communicate the importance of their proposed study.

This also allows us to evaluate the applicant’s ability to explain their ideas to a non-scientist, helping us to fund scientists who can communicate about their research to all of our supporters and help raise the profile of lung research amongst the public.

If you need any more information, please contact our research team at research@blf.org.uk