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The MPLS Research Staff Forum (RSF) was set up in 2016. It is a committee that meets termly, and it aims to represent the needs of research staff at a divisional level. 

The RSF discusses issues raised from a departmental level, and it contributes to debates on institutional and external research staff initiatives, such as eligibility for training, or the drafts of the Researcher Development Concordat. 

The RSF also makes policy proposals to the Research Staff Consultative Group, MPLS ECR Forum, and Divisional Board.  It shares good practice in establishing and running research staff societies at a departmental level, and acts as a conduit of information from division to research staff in departments. 

The committee aims to have at least one research staff representative from each department in the division.

One of the co-chairs of MPLS RSF sits on the Divisional Board, the governing body of the division. The other co-chair sits on the MPLS Training and Development Steering Group. Both co-chairs sit on the Research Staff Consultative Group of the University. Issues discussed at meetings of MPLS RSF can then be raised at divisional and institutional levels. Two representatives from MPLS RSF (usually the co-chairs) sit on the MPLS ECR Forum.

Current Co-chairs: Adina Pusok and Ed Darnbrough

Adina Pusok

Adina Pusok

Adina Pusok is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Earth Sciences, investigating the role of magma in the dynamics and deformation of Earth’s tectonic plate boundaries. She became a postdoc representative because she believes in active personal development and community involvement. Her primary objective is to create a dynamic postdoc community in the department. Since every researcher contributes to the academic and lab culture, she wants to enable postdocs to make more active choices to improve the postdoc experience in the department and university.

Ed Darnbrough

Ed Darnbrough

"The importance of research staff and culture is not only of paramount importance for future funding but also important for making a place everyone wants to work."

Ed Darnbrough is a postdoc in the Materials Department working on micromechanics and atomic resolution microscopy of materials for solid state batteries. His work with OxRSS and Prof David Gavaghan helped formalise staff representation in the university leading to the formation of the researcher hub and he sat on the inaugural Research Staff Consultancy Group. This work and his time on the Research and Innovation Committee gave him a strong understanding of the way the university works as well as connections to structures that allowed him to truly representing all staff as the Research Staff representative on the 2022 Oxford Vice-Chancellor Selection Committee.

Current MPLS Research Staff Forum committee members




Chris Terry


Alex Figueiredo


Stephen Marshall


Duhan Toparlak


Silvia Butti

Computer Science

Alexander Lipp

Earth Science

Tom Smith

Earth Science

Patrick Salter


Basia Maciejewska


Yige Sun


Lasse Grimmelt


Timothy LaRock


Kunhui Ye


Juan Ruiz Ruiz


Matthew Raybould


Updated May 2024


The Researcher Training and Development Manager

Supports MPLS RSF by acting as a secretary to the committee, providing continuity, induction for new members and giving briefings on specific subjects.

Justin Hutchence

Dr Justin Hutchence

Researcher Training and Development Manager, MPLS Division, University of Oxford

Justin is an experienced coach, facilitator and trainer who once was an academic teaching and researching international relations. He leads a team that delivers a training and development programme for 3600 DPhil and Post-Doc researchers within the MPLS Division. The provision covers a number of different themes including: research skills, personal and professional development, enterprise, public engagement and research leadership. The mean average feedback for all the courses the team delivers annually has ranged between 8.4 and 8.6 out of 10 since 2016. Justin chaired the panel that judges the UK Three Minute Thesis competition for DPhil students 2017-19. He is now Chair of the Vitae Researcher Careers Working Group.

Commonly known as the Researcher Development Concordat, it is an agreement between stakeholders to improve the employment and support for researchers and researcher careers in higher education in the UK.

It sets out three clear principles of environment and culture, employment, and professional and career development. The principles are underpinned by obligations for the four key stakeholder groups, funders, institutions, researchers, and managers of researchers, to realise the aims of the concordat. The secretariat responsibility for the concordat is held by Universities UK.

Further information is available on the Concordat website.

The chart below indicates the structure of the RSF, and how it connects and functions within the University system.

A diagram showing how research staff are represented at the University.