About TASO

The Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (TASO) is an affiliate What Works Centre, and part of the UK Government’s What Works Movement. Our vision is to eliminate equality gaps in higher education (HE). Our mission is to improve lives through evidence-informed practice.

TASO was set up in 2019 within King’s College London and became an independent charity on 1 April 2021. Our work focuses on the generation, synthesis and dissemination of high-quality evidence about effective practice in widening participation and student outcomes. We primarily focus on developing and disseminating causal evidence (categorised as type 3 in the Office for Students’ Standard of Evidence).

The Role

The Academic Advisory Panel provides guidance to TASO’s team and contractors on methodology and approaches to evaluation. As a panel member you will play a vital role in shaping TASO’s work in producing timely, rigorous and appropriate evidence of what works to support young people’s journeys into and during higher education.

TASO is committed to methodological pluralism, and as such does not have a fixed view that there is a single ‘type’ of evaluation that is applicable across any given circumstance. We are therefore keen that our evaluation guidance, and the advice we receive, represents a variety of methodological viewpoints.  We are therefore hoping to recruit panel members with a variety of types of expertise, with the expectation that no panel member will be an expert on all of these. We do however expect panel members to employ the same open mindedness to methodology that we hope to display, and to be committed to the principles of the What Works Network.

We are interested in individuals who have experience in some or all of the following:

  • Research and evaluation in the context of higher education access and student success, and familiarity with relevant datasets
  • Randomised controlled trial design, including clustered randomised controlled trials, stepped wedge trials, and waitlist designs
  • Statistics for analysing randomised controlled trials, and for ex-ante power calculations
  • Quasi-experimental methods, including difference in differences
  • Measurement, instrument development and validation, and psychometrics
  • Economic evaluation
  • Implementation and process evaluation
  • Qualitative research, particularly with vulnerable young people and adults


The Academic Advisory Panel will meet quarterly as a panel to discuss and to shape TASO’s approach to evaluation.

The panel will peer review the evaluation guidance, and the recommendations, decisions and outputs made by the TASO team and evaluation partners. It will also make recommendations to TASO as to the suitability of organisations who may apply to conduct research or evaluation for or on behalf of TASO.

We expect the panel to be a group of supportive, critical friends who are able to challenge us to do better and, in turn, help the sector do better.


We envisage panel members serving initially until April 2023.

How to apply

Individuals wishing to join the Academic Advisory Panel should submit a CV and one-page cover letter by Monday 13th June 2022, to rain.sherlock@taso.org.uk and using the subject line “TASO Academic Advisory Panel”. Please state any potential or actual conflicts of interest. If you would like to discuss the role further or have any questions, please email Rain.