In the second step of the selection process, the external peer review, each eligible application will be reviewed by two external, independent, internationally renowned experts in the respective field applying the selection criteria.
The external reviewers are recruited internationally and appointed by the directors of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt based on the criteria for the appointment of reviewers. Applicants have to name potential reviewers in their application, who can be appointed within the MWK-FELLOWS peer review process. Proposed reviewers have to fulfil the criteria for the appointment of reviewers.
The reviewers receive guidelines for the review process (including the selection criteria along with the candidate’s complete application documents. The reviewers are asked to assess by a) filling in a structured evaluation sheet addressing the quality of the proposed research project and the applicant’s CV and publications and b) writing a qualitative review of the research proposal.
The reviewers will be asked to give a clear rating of the quality of the application by giving points according to a five-level scale (up to 10 points):
- Poor (0 points): The application addresses the criteria in an inadequate manner or there are serious inherent weaknesses.
- Fair (4 points): The application broadly addresses the criteria, but there are significant weaknesses.
- Good (6 points): The application addresses the criteria well, although improvements would be necessary.
- Very good (8 points): The application addresses the criteria very well, although certain improvements are still possible.
- Excellent (10 points): The application successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criteria. Any shortcomings are minor.
The ranking of the candidates on the basis of points (3 x up to 10 points will be given for each of three criteria concerning the project, as well as for each the three criteria concerning the candidate) will draw up a preliminary list comparing the candidates for fellowships according to the points awarded to them by the reviewers. A maximum of 60 points is possible. A threshold of 40 points in sum and of 18, for both the project and the candidate has to be reached for further evaluation.
In the candidate category the reviewer can balance out missing points by awarding extra ones in sections relating to gender inequality, career breaks or cross-sectoral mobility. In these sections the reviewer can give up to four points each. If, for example, a candidate got only six points in the publication category due to parental leaves, this can be balanced out by the reviewer if she/he awards up to four points in the career break category. This way, the full number of points can be reached. Balancing according to these equal opportunity considerations cannot lead to more than the maximum of 30 points.