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About the Research Policy Committee

​The Research Policy Committee is responsible for research policy and cross-School research initiatives and for advising on strategic matters relating to the research activities of the University.

Terms of Reference


RPC is a standing committee of the General Board. It is responsible on behalf of the General Board for research policy and cross-School research initiatives, referring matters for approval by the General Board as appropriate, and for advising the General Board on strategic matters relating to the research activities of the University.
RPC’s remit is to:
  1. Monitor and analyse external developments, policies and consultations that affect research, innovation and knowledge exchange; and ensure that procedures are in place to enable the University to respond effectively.
  2. Oversee the University’s strategic relationships with research sponsors and approve the allocation of institutional grants.
  3. Oversee the University’s strategic relationships with industry and international partners in research.
  4. Receive annual reports from Cambridge Enterprise and provide comments to be forwarded to the Finance Committee and thence Council; advise Cambridge Enterprise on policy matters.
  5. When requested by Cambridge Enterprise and having obtained the approval of the General Board (where appropriate), to determine the correct interpretation of the University IP policy and related policies to enable Cambridge Enterprise to act on such determination. Determinations made by RPC on such matters are made on the delegated authority of, and to be reported to, the General Board.
  6. Establish and oversee major cross-School research initiatives, including allocation of financial support from an Administered Fund.
  7. Approve terms of reference for, and receive reports from, cross-School committees and organisations concerned with research or knowledge exchange.
  8. Direct and approve the development of policies, management tools, procedures and systems to support research activity.
  9. Approve and monitor polices that ensure regulatory compliance and promote good practice in the conduct of research and the development of researchers.
  10. Report regularly to the General Board through the circulation to the Board of the minutes of RPC meetings and such other reports and papers as RPC or the Board may consider appropriate.
RPC provides advice to the General Board on:
  1. Research Excellence Framework.
  2. Knowledge Exchange Framework.
  3. Strategic Research Reviews.​​

a) Chair: Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)
b) Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Relations)
c) Heads of the six Schools
d) Six persons appointed by the General Board, on the nomination of each of the Councils of the Schools, who are active Principal Investigators for research grants
e) Not more than four persons co-opted by the Chair in recognition of their positions on the senior committees of major research funding agencies
f) A member appointed by the Committee from among postdoctoral research staff and Junior Research Fellows, on the nomination of the Head of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
g) Not more than two persons co-opted by the Committee.

There is no provision for deputies or alternates, except in the case of the Regius Professor of Physic (in whose absence, the Deputy Head of the School of Clinical Medicine may attend).

Members in categories d) and f) are appointed for a term of two calendar years, and may be reappointed. Members in categories e) and g) are co-opted for such period as the Chair deems appropriate.

The meeting is quorate if the number of members present is half-plus-one of the total number of current members and provided that three Heads of School are present.
Attending Officers
  • Academic Secretary
  • Head of the University Research Office
  • Chief Executive of Cambridge Enterprise
  • Director of the Office of External Affairs and Communications
  • Director of Development and Alumni Relations
  • A member of the Research Strategy Office acts as Secretary to the Committee
Other officers attend by invitation.


RPC typically meets twice a term. In addition, there is a special meeting each January that provides the opportunity for review of cross-School initiatives.

The meeting minutes are published on the Committee’s website after they have been approved by the Committee.​