Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme
Evaluation and Selection
Each application received by the SPS Programme undergoes a comprehensive, multi-phase evaluation and peer review process that takes into account expert, scientific and political guidance. This process ensures that all SPS applications approved for funding are thoroughly evaluated for their scientific merit and security impact by NATO experts, independent scientists and NATO member countries.
Step 1: Review by SPS International Staff
Applications are reviewed by SPS international staff to ensure their alignment with the Programme’s Key Priorities and NATO’s strategic guidance, and to reduce the risk of duplication with ongoing efforts within and outside NATO.
Step 2: The Independent Scientific Evaluation Group (ISEG)
Following initial screening by the SPS Programme, each application is reviewed by members of the Independent Scientific Evaluation Group (ISEG). The ISEG includes scientists and experts nominated by NATO member countries, who are selected on the basis of their expertise in specific areas of SPS Key Priorities, as well as their experience and potential to contribute to the Group’s work. Once appointed by the Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee (PCSC), ISEG members do not represent their individual nations. Their main role is to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of all applications through peer-review. ISEG assessments can be carried out during in-person meetings, as well as online.
The direct involvement of ISEG members in SPS initiatives is instrumental to maintaining the integrity and high scientific standard of the SPS Programme. Following activities’ approval, ISEG members follow and evaluate ongoing SPS projects and events in their areas of expertise, to ensure that all activities meet the SPS criteria for success, are well managed, and reach the end of their lifecycle with concrete deliverables.
Step 3: The Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee (PCSC)
Proposals that receive a positive recommendation by the ISEG undergo the scrutiny of NATO Allies in the Partnerships and Cooperative Security Committee (PCSC). The PCSC is the single politico-military committee responsible for all of NATO’s outreach programmes with non-member countries, as well as NATO’s relations with other international organisations.
PCSC approves each new SPS activity by consensus. In addition, SPS regularly briefs the Committee on the progress and achievements of its initiatives.
Step 4: Approval
The success rate of proposals submitted to SPS is approximately 30-40%. Regardless of the final decision, the SPS Programme informs all applicants in writing about the outcome of their applications.
Given the number of proposed activities and their rigorous review, it may take up to nine months for an activity to be approved. It is therefore important for applicants to take this timeframe into consideration when proposing dates for an activity, particularly for SPS-supported Events (ARW, ASI, ATC).