Research governance

Learn more about Core's research funding governance and policies

Core funds research on all digestive disorders. We have a number of funding schemes, some led by Core and some delivered in collaboration with other organisations. Core is an active, full member of the Association for Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and we adhere to their recommendations and best practice guidance.

The Research Awards Committee (RAC) is the means by which the charity implements peer reviewed research awards policy conforming to AMRC guidelines. The RAC is independent of charity staff and Trustees. It is the responsibility of the Trustees to allocate funds for research and to decide on the research strategy and priorities of the charity. It is the role of the RAC to advise the Trustees on the recipients of the charity’s research awards.

All members of the RAC, and participants co-opted onto the RAC for particular awards, must sign a confidentiality agreement prior to serving on the RAC and agree to abide by AMRC’s Principles of Peer Review, including adhering to the conflict of interest policy.

Core’s Conflict of Interest Policy

  • Members of the RAC are expected to declare any conflict of interest at the beginning of the scoring process for applications. Conflicts of interest are defined below but RAC members should inform Core as soon as they become aware of any other conflict of interest with an application.
  • RAC members should not review applications that have been submitted from their employing institution, or from applicants with whom they have a personal relationship. The RAC member must not take part in the discussion of the relevant application and should leave the room during the discussion.
  • RAC members can apply for grants but no more than 50% of the members of the committee should be actively in receipt of grants from the charity. Trustees can also apply for grants, but if research funding is awarded to a Trustee of the charity, this must be done in accordance with the Charity Commission rules in Annex A (Conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees). RAC members, including Trustees, who apply for a grant whether as the main applicant, a co-applicant or a collaborator, must not review that application, must not take part in the discussion of the relevant application and should leave the room during the discussion.
  • If the RAC member has co-authored with the applicant or joint co-applicant in the last five years, the RAC member should not review that application. This might require further discussion between the RAC member and the Chair, to clarify the degree of conflict.
  • A member of the RAC who is an applicant, co-applicant or collaborator on an application should not see reviewers’ reports on their application.
  • When the final decision regarding funding is not clear-cut, a member of the RAC who has a conflict of interest with one of the competing applications must not be in a position to influence the final decision. They should take no part in the discussion about selecting the winning applicant and their scores or comments on competing applications should not be considered.
  • The Chair of the RAC should not make an application for funding during his/her term of office.

Membership of the AMRC

Core has passed the AMRC Peer Review Audit, which last took place in 2015. Core was awarded a certificate by AMRC to show that it follows best practice when peer reviewing grant applications.

During the audit, AMRC assessed the accountability, balance, independence, rotation and impartiality of Core’s peer review process. The results of the audit demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards of accountability and probity to donors, funders, the government and researchers.

Core follows AMRC’s statement on supporting research in universities and AMRC’s statement on the use of animals in research. Applicants to Core’s funding schemes need to demonstrate that their proposal actively applies the principles and follows the guidelines of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) at all stages of the research process, from the design and conduct of experiments through to dissemination and reporting.