To facilitate long-term, strategic planning, Tommy’s operates a 5-yearly (quinquennial) research review cycle to assess the performance and plans of each research centre. This process consists of:
- A quinquennial review, where each centre reports on the progress and impact made in the previous 5-year funding cycle, as well as their plans for the next 5 years
- Annual review of written progress reports, focusing on key research milestones and performance indicators
- A 3-year checkpoint review, where key metrics will be assessed at a face-to-face meeting
This process is overseen by our Scientific Advisory Committee and our Parent Voices Committee. These groups are part of the Tommy’s Research Review Group.
Before the quinquennial review, our research centres prepare detailed reports that are circulated to the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Parent Voices Committee. These reports must include a 5-year strategy proposal from the centre, alongside a synopsis of their impact over the previous funding cycle. Centres also outline their research plans for the next 5 years and submit a 5-year budget. Our Research Review Group read these reports, before convening for a face-to-face quinquennial review meeting, which is also attended by Centre Directors and Centre Senior Leadership Teams. At this meeting, each Centre Director gives a short presentation outlining the vision and strategy for their centre, after which there is an opportunity for the Research Review Group to ask any questions they may have. Each centre is reviewed separately, and each member of the Research Review Group is given a specific area of focus before the meeting.
After completing these discussions, the Research Review Group agree on a set of recommendations to be made to the Tommy’s Trustees. These recommendations may span a spectrum, ranging from minor adjustments to more substantial changes, all aimed at enhancing the quality, alignment with objectives, and value for money of each 5-year research proposal. Following the meeting, the reviewers draft a report outlining their recommendations. Tommy’s Trustees receive a copy of these peer review reports and agree any actions to be taken, including whether they are satisfied that the 5-year plans and year 1 budget should be signed off. Feedback is then sent to the Centre Directors, who must update their 5-year plans and year 1 budget based on the reviewers’ recommendations and conditions. Each centre is then required to produce milestone-focused activity reports and annual budgets every year, which are reviewed by members of the Research Review Group. Approval of annual budgets is contingent upon receipt of satisfactory external reports and evidence that milestones are being met.
At the 3-year checkpoint, the Centre Directors and representatives of the Research Review Group meet face-to-face to explore the progress, effectiveness and alignment of each Centre’s research activities with the original grant objectives. These discussions guide decision-making for the remainder of the 5-year period, ensuring the optimal use of resources for maximum impact. The Research Review Group also assess whether the centre has taken on board any recommendations made during the quinquennial review. If there are significant concerns about a centre at this checkpoint, the reviewers may recommend that Tommy’s cease funding the centre at the end of the 5-year cycle.