Peer review and internal approval

Resource planning and risk approval form

There are two key documents that you need in order for your research application to gain internal approval; the resource planning and risk approval (RPRA) form and the project costing form.

The resource planning and risk approval (RPRA) form​​ has been developed to contribute to the University's audit requirements.

The purpose behind the RPRA form is to enable the University to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed project and to fully assess the resources that are required to complete it. The RPRA form provides a formal record of the evaluation process and completion of the RPRA form is required for each new application.

The RPRA form will be considered in conjunction with any related proposal documents for the application. In addition the completion of the internal Project Costing Form, provided by the funding advisory team in research & innovation, will ensure that the project costing is correctly presented for approval and sign off.​

Please refer to the table to identify the appropriate Approval Form and reference documents for your Faculty (for internal staff only).

To access forms, please use the following link or contact your Faculty Office as specified in the table: Download Forms

Faculty Form and reference documents How to access

Science/Engineering and Health/Human Sciences Standard RPRA form Use link
Medicine/Dentistry PSMD RPRA Process and Key Contacts Use link
PSMD RPRA form​ Use link
PSMD RPRA form - PSMD not Lead Applicant Use link
Arts/Humanities Expression of interest (completed and return to Faculty office before submitting RPRA Form) Contact Faculty office
Business Complete the Stage One pro-forma in the FoB External Funding Approval Process and
Incentive Scheme document and submit it to FOBResearch@plymouth.ac.uk  
Use link

Completing the RPRA form

The RPRA form consists of an overview of your project, a peer reviewer's assessment of your proposal, a costing overview (including a brief description of the facilities and resources required to conduct your project) and an assessment of the risks associated with your project. More detail is provided below.

Internal peer review

Effective internal peer review can improve the quality of research proposals and contribute towards increased success rates for researchers and their institutions.

The applicant should complete the first section of the RPRA form with information about the proposed project and then pass the form to the nominated internal peer reviewer together with the proposal documents and the project costing form.

The peer reviewer should then complete the next section of the form with their comments on the proposal (peer reviewers - please see Advice for peer reviewers (internal staff and students only) and notes in the RPRA form).

Remember the competition for research funds is high and is increasing. Funders have expressed their growing concern over the number of poor quality research proposals they receive and are putting in place measures to stop re-submissions from those who have been unsuccessful on multiple occasions.

For advice, please refer to the quality-assurance, demand-management and-re-submissions section on the Guidance page.

Risk assessment

The applicant must highlight any foreseen risks associated with undertaking the project. The Head of School must assess these risks, including those of a financial, ethical, reputational, and academic nature, and must decide whether they are acceptable. Advice for the Head of School in managing the risk assessment and peer review process is available on our intranet (for internal staff only).

Application approval process

Once the peer reviewer has provided feedback, completed their evaluation and signed their section in the RPRA form, the principal applicant should add their response and sign. The form should then be forwarded together with the project costing form and the proposal documents to the Head of School and Dean (or nominated deputies) for their review and approval.

You must allow adequate time to complete the internal approvals before you submit your application.

The funding advisors and faculty support (see above) can help to facilitate this process. We recommend that you discuss the application briefly with the relevant signatories or your ADR as early as possible before starting the application process.

Proposals where the Plymouth University component of the project costs is greater than £2M require additional approval by the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC).

OVC approval will be obtained by R&I; please speak with the funding advisors for assistance and do not send documents directly to the OVC. Applicants should allow at least a week following all other approvals for the OVC approval to be completed.​​​​