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For more information on the membership or Terms of Reference for either of these Committees, please contact Sophie Armstrong-Brown.

The various committees below ensure that the strategic vision of the College and the Faculty is implemented across all departments.

Each Research Committee is comprised of members drawn 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 with specialist panels on ad hoc basis.

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 (Richard Craster)
  • Faculty Operating Officer (Nazia Hirjee)
  • Faculty Finance Officer (Tim Ovenden)
  • Faculty Dean Associate Enterprise (David Klug) 
  • Faculty Research Computing Representative (David Colling)
  • Director of Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation (Viraj Perera)
  • Strategic Research Manager (Sophie Armstrong-Brown)
  • Head of Development (Marcus Rees-Roberts) 
  • Office of the Vice-Provost Research and Enterprise (Rebecca Delahunty)
  • Faculty Strategic Research Facilitator (Ester Buchaca-Domingo) - minuting secretary

Departmental Representatives:

  • Centre for Environmental Policy (Niall Mac Dowell)
  • Centre for Environmental Policy (Clive Potter)
  • Chemistry (Ramon Vilar Compte)
  • Chemistry (Anthony Kucernak)
  • Life Sciences (Vincent Savolainen)
  • Life Sciences (Erhard Hohenester)
  • Mathematics (Eva-Maria  Graefe)
  • Mathematics (Mauricio Barahona)
  • Physics (Henrique Araujo)
  • Physics (Jeremy Chittenden) 

Institute Representatives:

  • Grantham Institute (Ralf Toumi)
  • Energy Futures Lab (Anthony Kucernak)
  • Data Science Institute (Niall Adams)
  • Institute for Security Science and Technology (Deeph Chana)
  • Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering (Nicholas Harrison/Claire adjiman)


  • AHSC Research Committee (David Klug)
  • Institute for Systems and Synthetic Biology (Geoff Baldwin)
  • Institute of Chemical Biology (Ramon Vilar Compte)


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 or more frequently as required.

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 review and support the development of research strategy in FoNS
  • To explore and help develop new multidisciplinary research initiatives, including  inter-Divisional/ Departmental/Faculty collaborations
  • To review UKRI and other funding opportunities and to help identify/develop appropiate projects, champions and partners for specific research opportunities and strategic goals
  • To support and enhance engagement with industry 
  • To allocate internal FoNS funding to enhance research in FoNS
  • To review FoNS research infrastructure and practice with a view to identifying challenges, improving effectiveness of research and academic staff and minimising internal competition


Chair: Faculty Vice Dean Research (Paul French)

Ex officio:

  • Faculty Dean Associate Enterprise (David Klug)
  • Director of Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation (Viraj Perera)
  • FoNS Strategic Research Manager (Sophie Armstrong-Brown)
  • FoNS Head of Development (Marcus Rees-Roberts)
  • FoNS Strategic Research Facilitator (Ester Buchaca-Domingo)

 Departmental Representatives:

  • Centre for Environmental Policy (Niall Mac Dowell)
  • Chemistry (Ramon Vilar Compte)
  • Life Sciences (Erhard Hohenester)
  • Mathematics (Mauricio Barahona)
  • Physics (Jeremy Chittenden/Henrique Araujo)

Departmental representatives should be closely integrated with their Departmental research committees and colleagues responsible for strategy development and industry engagement. They should liaise closely with their HoD and maintain comprehensive overviews of research on their Departments and any specific challenges faced. They should be able to identify potential partners for multidisciplinary and industry-facing research proposals. The Departments should recognise the significant commitment and workload associated with this role.

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: