The various committees below ensure that the strategic vision of the College and the Faculty is implemented across all the Departments. Each Research Committee is comprised of members drawned from a pool of experts from each Department and Institute. This ensures the appropriate expertise is available to assesss the plan and development of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Members of staff are encouraged to raise any issues with the research strategy team who will bring these items at the appropriate committee meeting.


FoNS Research Committees

Faculty Research Committee

Directors of Research and Directors of our major Institutes and Centres develop the research strategy for their Department, Institute or Centre, in consultation with their Heads of Department and colleagues as appropriate. They sit on the Faculty Research Committee (FRC) where they share their strategy and discuss cross-Faculty initiatives and opportunities with other FRC members. The FRC is chaired by the Vice-Dean (Research), Professor Paul French. The FRC meets quarterly. 

If there is an item that you would like to see discussed at the FRC, please contact your Director of Research.

Terms of Reference

  • To review research practice and strategy within FoNS
  • To disseminate information regarding policies and opportunities for FoNS research
  • To review recommendations of operational-strategy committee (OSC) 


Chair: Faculty Vice-Dean Research (Paul French)

Ex officio:

  • Faculty Dean (Tom Welton)
  • Faculty Operating Officer (Nazia Hirjee)
  • Faculty Finance Officer (Tim Ovenden)
  • Corporate Partnerships Senior Associate (Rebecca Wilson)
  • Strategic Research Manager (Sophie Armstrong-Brown)
  • Head of Development (Marcus Rees-Roberts) 

Departmental Representatives:

  • Centre for Environmental Policy (Nick Voulvoulis)
  • Chemistry (Ramon Vilar)
  • Chemistry (Oscar Ces)
  • Life Sciences (George Christophides)
  • Life Sciences (Murray Selkirk)
  • Mathematics (Pierre Degond)
  • Mathematics (Mauricio Barahona)
  • Physics (Ulrik Egede)
  • Physics (Kenny Weir) 

Institute Representatives:

  • Institute of Systems and Synthetic Biology (Richard Kitney)
  • Institute of Chemical Biology (Oscar Ces)
  • Grantham Institute (Jo Haigh/Martin Siegert)


  • AHSC Research Committee (David Klug)
  • Energy Futures Lab (Anthony Kucernak)
  • Data Science Institute (Yi-Ke Guo)
  • Institute for Security Science and Technology (Chris Hankin)
  • Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (Nicholas Harrison/Claire Adjiman)


Faculty Operational Strategy Committee

The Faculty Operational Strategy Committee is responsible for ensuring that the strategy developed by the FRC is implemented. This Committee also deals with other operational research issues and information transfer to Faculties. The FOSC meets every month.

If there is an item that you would like to be discussed at FOSC meetings, please contact the Faculty Strategic Research Manager, Sophie Armstrong-Brown.

Terms of Reference

  • To (proactively) help identify partners for specific research objectives and initiatives
  • To explore and help develop new research initiatives, including multidisciplinary inter-Divisional/ Departmental and inter-Faculty initiatives
  • To review applications for internal College funding
  • To support and enhance engagement with industry 
  • To explore non-RCUK sources of research funding and help identify/develop appropriate projects
  • To review FoNS research infrastructure and practice with a view to identifying challenges, improving effectiveness of research and academic staff and minimising internal competition
     – essentially aiming to maximise staff time available for research, improve quality of research experience, reduce internal competition for external resources and increase transparency.



Chair: Faculty Vice Dean Research (Paul French)

Ex officio:

  • Corporate Partnerships Senior Associate (Rebecca Wilson)
  • FoNS Strategic Research Coordinator (Sophie Armstrong-Brown)
  • FoNS Head of Development (Marcus Rees-Roberts)
  • FoNS Strategic Research Facilitator (Ester Buchaca-Domingo)

 Departmental Representatives:

  • Centre for Environmental Policy (Nick Voulvoulis)
  • Chemistry (Ramon Vilar Compte)
  • Life Sciences (Murray Selkirk)
  • Mathematics (Mauricio Barahona)
  • Physics (Kenny Weir)

Faculty Research Excellence Framework (REF) Committee

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 is the peer review assessment of the quality of research taking place at eligible UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that will be used to distribute HEFCE quality-related research (QR) funding from 2022-23. The REF2021  will be a process of expert review, informed by indicators where appropriate. This will be assessed based on three elements:

  • Research Outputs (65%) which will be assessed by peer review, informed (where appropriate) by citation information
  • Impact (20%) will assess the benefits of the research undertaken on economy and society
  • Environment (15%) will consider the research strategy, infrastructure and environment, including research income and research degrees award

Faculty of Natural Sciences REF Committee


  • Faculty Dean (Chair)
  • Faculty Vice Dean - Research
  • Faculty Operating Officer
  • Faculty REF Champion
  • Faculty REF Co-ordinator
  • Faculty Strategy Research Manager
  • Heads of Departments, Director of Centre and Unit of Assessment Leads (Outputs, Impact and Environment) 

Terms of Reference

  • To oversee departmental preparations of the REF submission within the Faculty, namely:
  • To provide a forum for discussion between Departments regarding all aspects of the submission
  • To establish and share best practice in the preparation of submissions
  • To ensure that Research England guidance and the College strategic steer are well understood, and to advise departments on any uncertainties they have
  • To discuss and implement a Faculty strategy for REF2021
  • To communicate College-level REF activity to Department leads, including activity within the REF Steering Group
  • To provide input to Research England consultations on REF2021
  • To ensure that all decisions are informed by current equalities legislation and good management practice in line with the Colleges REF Code of Practice.

Student Staff Committee

The FoNS Student Staff Committees will normally meet once each term. In these meetings, student representatives make the opinions of students known to staff in an informal and non-confrontational environment. Full details of the FoNS Student Staff Committees membership and Terms of Reference are available here: