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Newton Prize 2019 reviewer guidance notes

Background on the Newton Prize

The Newton Prize recognises the excellent research and innovation supported by the Newton Fund. It aims to incentivise researchers and businesses to participate in the Newton Fund as partners with the UK, and to work on the most important challenges facing Newton countries. The concept for the Newton Prize has been developed to raise the profile of the Newton Fund, to demonstrate how UK partnerships with Newton countries are solving global challenges, and to celebrate the impacts made as a result of these international collaborations.

Each year, from 2017 until 2021, Newton funded research, R&D and/or innovation partnerships or teams will be awarded the Newton Prize. In 2019, one Newton Prize will be awarded to each of the 2019 Newton Prize eligible partner countries which are China, Indonesia and the Philippines. There is no competition between the eligible countries for these prizes and proposals are invited between £50-£200k. There will be one additional prize, the Chair’s Prize, which is open to all to apply, with proposals between £200-500k, and this will be awarded to the project that best demonstrates knowledge and partnership working.

General guidance for our reviewers

We are looking for experts to review Newton Prize applications. Register now to become an expert reviewer for this year's prize.

Please familiarise yourself with the 2019 Newton Prize: Guidance Notes, Terms and Conditions and Selection Criteria in order to assess the applications assigned to you.                          

For all applications:

When assessing Newton Prize applications, the over-riding concern is that candidates must make a case for the following:

A central component of prize-winning applications will be those which clearly explain their contribution to solving development challenges. This is because the Newton Fund draws upon Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding to contribute to realising the ambitions of the UK aid strategy, thereby making progress on the global effort to address the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs embody a global commitment to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path to development, stimulating action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet while eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. The Newton Prize has clear links with the UN SDGs through its emphasis on providing collaborative solutions to development issues faced by partner countries. The emphasis on inter-disciplinarily and partnership building with developing countries that underpins the Newton Fund, signals an ambition and an intention to achieve a positive transformational impact on development research and on sustainable global development.

Application assessment

Conflicts of interest and confidentiality: Please note that the contents of applications should be kept confidential. It is also very important that you flag to us if you have any conflict of interest in marking any application. If this is the case, please contact The Newton Prize team immediately ( and the affected application will be allocated to another Reviewer.

We expect a very diverse cross-section of applicants, including small and large projects, individuals or research teams/collaborations, and from well-established projects to those that have started more recently. Applicants have been asked to make the case for the existing results and impacts of their work in Part A of the application, and in Part B to anticipate impacts that would arise from being awarded a prize. We ask you to exercise your judgement in marking applications to help us identify truly prize worthy applications in the context of their individual circumstances.

The application will be marked against specific selection criteria. Some of the selection criteria apply to the project’s proposed future work, and some to both. To assess the application, please provide a mark from 1 to 10 (1 being poor, 10 being exceptionally strong), for each section, and written feedback and comments so that the Newton Prize Committee can understand the reasoning behind your assessment for the shortlisting process. The marks for each section have been given differential weightings by BEIS. This online review form will calculate individual question weighting, reviewers simply need to input an initial mark from 1 to 10 in each section.

This is a prestigious prize; only a small number of awards will be made, so we need your considered opinion about whether the application merits such recognition. We are looking for your assessment of the excellence and impact of the application’s existing research and innovation work, as well as whether their plans for spending the prize money, if awarded, are realistic and would deliver impressive further research and impact.

The applicant’s general eligibility has already been assessed and confirmed by the Newton Prize team on receiving the Part A application.

Please note that some of your comments as indicated may be made available as feedback to the applicants in an anonymised format to help inform their future research and innovation work.

Further guidance is provided in the selection criteria, in relation to marking the application responses under the different selection criteria, including the question numbers within the application form that you will need to look at to provide your opinion on how applicants have met, or not met, each criterion.

Please note that the deadline for the submission of Reviewer’s scores and comments is:

Part A: Friday 10 May at 12noon (UK local time).

Part B: Friday 28 June at 12 noon (UK local time).

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Newton Prize team:

Sarah Shaw, Newton Prize Project Director

Shara Samra, Newton Prize Project Assistant