Completeness Check Criteria

  • Profile Completed
  • Description and Budget section completed with Project Description Attachment and Budget Attachment
  • At least one entry completed for the Output section
  • At least one entry completed for the Outcomes section
  • At least one entry completed for the Organizations section
  • At least one entry completed for the Team members section with CV attached as required
  • The entire application contains all related entries and supporting materials
  • Proposal has been submitted and confirmed

External Review Criteria     

Reviewers will only score and comment on the Project Description section using the noted criteria below and will not review or consider other typical criteria like personnel, environment/facilities, or budget.

Peer Review: All applications will be evaluated according to the below criteria. 

**Please note that Study Design and Objectives is weighted more heavily than Background/Rationale and Significance/Relevance**

Background and Rationale 

  • How the scientific rationale supports the project and its feasibility, as demonstrated by a critical review and analysis of the literature, unpublished results from the laboratory of the PI or collaborators (personnel identification to remain anonymous) or from the published literature that are relevant to the proposed research, and/or logical reasoning.

Study Design and Objectives 

  • How well the hypotheses or objectives, aims, experimental design, methods and analyses are developed and integrated into the project. 
  • Whether the methodology, techniques, and procedures are feasible and valid and if they are adequately referenced, state-of-the-art, and focused. 
  • How well the PI acknowledges potential problems and addresses alternative approaches. 
  • Whether the application includes an appropriate statistical plan with power analysis, if applicable. 
  • Whether plans for data collection, analysis, storage, and dissemination are adequately addressed.
  • Whether the methodology and scope of the project are suitable.


  • To what extent the research, if successful, will make an important contribution in the field of consciousness. 

Scoring Guidelines

Each criteria (1. Background and Rationale, 2. Study Design and Objectives, and 3.  Significance/Relevance) should be scored using the below scoring scale. As mentioned above, Study Design and Objectives is weighted more heavily than Background/Rationale and Significance/Relevance. 

Scoring Scale (whole numbers scores)

  • 1 Outstanding (extremely strong with negligible weaknesses)
  • 2 Excellent (very strong with only minor weaknesses)
  • 3 Satisfactory (some strengths but with some moderate weaknesses)
  • 4 Unsatisfactory (very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses)

External Review Pool Information

External reviews will be managed by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). We have instructed AIBS to source external reviewers with expertise in research on consciousness. We aim to source reviewers globally with a geographic distribution that reflects that of the applications being reviewed.

Process Overview

Application phase

  • Applications open.
  • Workshop for applicants (to be recorded).
  • Workshop for last minute Q&A (to be recorded).

Selection Phase

  • Internal Review
    • Completeness check.
    • Initial quality screen. 
    • Down-selection of proposals that do not meet these criteria.
  • External Review
    • AIBS will source reviewers.
    • Blinded external review of project description.
    • Weighted scores and comments will be returned to TWCF.
  • Partial Lottery
    • Proposals with scores below the median will be declined.
    • The rest of the proposals will be randomly selected to be considered for approval.
    • The remaining proposals will be screened for any outstanding opportunities to also be considered for approval. The rest of the proposals will be declined.

Approval Phase

  • This phase is not competitive, and only for proposals to be considered for approval. All proposals that make it to this stage will have a budget allocated and will be funded subject to approval by the foundation’s trustees, satisfactory compliance review, and successful negotiation of a grant agreement.
  • Applicants will receive an opportunity to respond to reviewer feedback.
  • Proposals will be subject to compliance review and project descriptions will have to be registered in the Open Science Framework.
  • The final decisions for approval will be made by a committee composed of trustees of TWCF.