Introducing the Project Team

The research teams brings together a unique mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods along with perspectives from research evaluation, public policy, linguistics and economics. This will ensure that the research both contributes to academic advances, but also, more importantly develops strong recommendations for the adaptation of peer review processes at the Wellcome Trust, but also other funding agencies globally. Adopting these broad methodological skills is well within the team’s experience, outlined in the case studies below. In particular, bringing these distinct skillsets and experiences together towards a common goal, requires a background in peer review processes and meta-research more broadly.

Gemma Derrick

Principle Investigator

Gemma is a Senior Lecturer (Higher Education) at the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation at Lancaster University. Gemma has extensive expertise the application of innovative, mixed methods techniques to the study of peer review processes. Her book, “The Evaluators’ Eye”, publishing in 2018, provided an in-depth, behavioural analysis of how peer review panels negotiate the evaluation of Impact through deliberation and consensus forming. Gemma also currently acts as the Research Director for her department and is acutely aware of the need to foster the development of ECRs and prepare them to navigate the peer review process.

Richard Klavans


Ricard started SciTech Strategies Inc in 1989 and since then, together with researchers at the Institute for Scientific Information, has built an impressive track record in the application of bibliometrics to the study of research communities. This has included studies of research portfolios, the identification of individual excellence, and the research focus of different nations . The algorithms developed by Richard at SciTech Strategies, Inc to identify research communities have now been widely adopted with over a thousand users in SciVal© and soon to be utilized across many informational products at Elsevier. His current focus is on the development of a research proposal database to investigate the evolution of research and research ideas.

Alessandra Zimmermann

Research Associate

Alessandra Zimmermann is the Executive Director of Proposal Analytics. She was attracted to PA by the idea of helping study and therefore impact the cutthroat academic culture she experience getting her PhD in Biochemistry.

Jonathan Best

Wellcome Contact for the Failure ProjectResearch on Research

Jonathan joined Wellcome in March 2013 and oversees Research and Analysis and leads the Research on Research programme. He has a PhD in the neurobiology of circadian rhythms from the University of Cambridge. His scientific training and background has been in drug discovery in Pharma and biotech.

Helen Greaves

Research Associate

Helen joined Lancaster University’s Educational Research department in September 2018, working as Project Coordinator on the GenderEYE research project. Helen has experience in questionnaire development and analysis and is extremely passionate about turning academic research into real-world impact, which is a particular ambition of this project.

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