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Independent observer assesses Scientific Review Committee meetings

2 August 2017

To ensure the integrity of its evaluation procedures and to find ways to improve quality, efficiency and transparency, EDCTP recently enlisted the assistance of independent experts to observe and critically examine its peer review evaluation process. The assessment encompasses the mechanism and execution of the review. EDCTP was pleased to welcome Dr Hans Lehmann, former head of NCP Life Sciences, Germany, as the first independent observer for four EDCTP calls launched in 2016.

“We are committed to ensuring the highest level of integrity, efficiency and transparency in the processing and scientific review of all applications submitted to EDCTP.”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Executive Director

Independent experts in the role of observer are able to access freely all relevant communications between EDCTP and peer reviewers, may ask for opinions on the process from the peer reviewers themselves, and may observe any meetings that are part of the peer review evaluation process. The ultimate objective is for independent experts to assess EDCTP’s adherence to the procedures outlined in the annual EDCTP work plan, and its compliance with Horizon 2020 procedures, and to make recommendations for improvement.

The observer assessed the second-stage evaluation procedure of four calls:

  • ‘Strategic actions supporting health systems/services optimisation research capacities in cooperation with development assistance initiatives’ (CSA2016S)
  • ‘Clinical trials and operational research studies to optimise the use of products for poverty-related diseases in mothers, newborns, children and/or adolescents’ (RIA2016MC)
  • ‘Strategic actions supporting large-scale clinical trials’ (RIA2016S)
  • ‘Vaccines for poverty-related diseases’ (RIA2016V).

Dr Lehmann was satisfied that the evaluation and selection procedures were fully in line with Horizon 2020 requirements and as stipulated in the EDCTP work plan, and commended the evaluators and EDCTP secretariat staff for their expertise and professionalism. He made several recommendations for improvement that are under consideration by EDCTP management.

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