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UCL Launches New MSc Programme on Global Management of Natural Resources

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Research at UCL Australia

UCL School of Energy and Resources

Research in the School of Energy and Resources focuses on both the upstream and downstream development of energy and resources, covering a wide range of disciplines - from engineering and economics to environmental science and law. 

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Mullard Space Science Laboratory

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.

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International Energy Policy Institute

The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.

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2014 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report cover

Read about all departmental research in the 2014 Annual Report.


International Energy Policy Institute


The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.


Mullard Space Science Laboratory


The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.


Million pounds for UCL'’s Adelaide campus

10 June 2014

10 June 2014

By Cameron England, Chief Business Reporter, Adelaide Advertiser

UNIVERSITY College London will be investing a million pounds in its Adelaide campus next year with further funding on the horizon, chief executive David Travers says.

The specialised university campus, which was launched in April 2010 as part of former premier Mike Rann’s “university city” vision, has broadened its relationships with industry and built up a reputation as a centre focused on practical research outcomes.

The university now has 88 students, out of a possible Federal Government-limited total of 120, and employs 21 staff.

“My goal is to push up closer to that 120 number over the next four years probably and particularly to strengthen our PhD numbers, which sit at about 10 at the moment,’’ Mr Travers said.

Another intake of PhD students will be advertised later this year.

Mr Travers said the university was “pretty much on track on where we wanted to be after four years’’.

The University has a seven year funding arrangement with the government however it currently only receives rent relief, rather than direct financial support.

It was set up with a $10 million commitment from Santos and State Government support valued at $5.8 million.

UCL also has a $10 million commitment from BHP Billiton, signed 2011, with half of the funds for the London headquarters and half for Adelaide.

Mr Travers said the University was looking to invest a million pounds next year, the year after that and potentially the following year also.

“We want to be bigger and have a greater impact. We’ve committed to the first year and one of the things we’ll be looking at our board meeting (this week) is our planned rate of growth,’’ Mr Travers said.

“For me personally we've achieved what we would have wanted to. I’m always impatient but it’s important that we’ve got it right and we have the foundation settled.

“To my mind the most exciting prospect for what UCL can provide to Adelaide and Australia is the kind of technology research we’ll be starting to deliver over that next three to four year period.’’

This could involve projects such as building a hyper-spectral imager which could be used to collect data from a drone over the Cooper Basin, or monitoring systems for offshore oil and gas.

Just as important as the technology is the policy research, such as looking at the fiscal regimes which could support the growth of the shale gas industry.

The university is focused on the resources sector, both in the policy and technology spheres.

It also has an outpost of the Mullard Space Science laboratory, involving a small number of people in Adelaide as part of a 180-strong team based in Surrey in England.

That team flies 17 instruments in space and specialises in systems engineering including remote sensing.

As well as high profile funding partnerships with BHP Billiton and Santos the university also works with others in the industry such as Chevron, Kogas and Beach Energy.

As well as its initial $10 million commitment, Santos in 2011 signed a $3 million agreement with Korean energy firm KOGAS, the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy and UCL to provide graduate scholarships to 18 Korean energy professionals.

Former Rio Tinto chief executive Leigh Clifford has been a guest lecturer at the university and former resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson joined the board last year.

“An example of positive feedback we get from students, both Masters and PhD students, is when they hear from people who are challenged by real world problems who come in to take the time to talk to the students about how they go about solving those problems,’’ Mr Travers said.

Engagement with industry was one of three principles, including having an interdisciplinary approach and “to be a lighthouse for the brand in Asia’’ which have underpinned the organisation since it was set up.

UCL was ranked the fourth best university in the world by Top Universities last year.


Dr Laura Falkenberg is looking at how to speed up and improve monitoring of marine environments.

The marine biologist, who has a PhD in marine ecology from the University of Adelaide, joined UCL about six months ago.

Her PhD research looked at the impact of forecast future global changes such as the projected increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as well as the impacts of local changes such as species removal and nutrient pollution on marine systems

“The project I’m working on at UCL is looking at potential impact of resource extraction in marine environments,’’ Dr Falkenberg said.

“At the moment my project is largely looking at method development, for techniques to be able to measure impact.

“Once I’ve got the method developed I’ll be able to look at a variety of contaminants, whether that is due to impacts such as dredging or port development or global factors I’ve looked at in the past.’’

Dr Falkenberg said there was a lot of environmental monitoring already done on marine environments, but a weakness was the need to do the analysis in a lab, removing species from their environments and taking a lot of time.

“The method I’m trying to develop, will hopefully be easier ... (and could be done) closer to the area of impact so it’s a more rapid response and can potentially feed back into management.’’

Dr Falkenberg is also a committee member of the Australian Marine Sciences Association.


Dr Laura Falkenberg

The effects of resources projects on marine species are being examined by Dr Falkenberg. The marine biologist did her PhD at the University of Adelaide looking at the impact of local and global changes on species. Prior to joining UCL Laura was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Adelaide where she conducted research that considered the potential role of altered conditions as drivers of shifts in kelp ecosystems.

Dr Michel Berthélemy

Dr Berthélemy’s research interest include the economics of nuclear power and the regulation of the nuclear industry. In the South Australian context he is looking at how power generators deal with the large current and looming changes to the energy market, brought about by factors such as the increased use of solar and wind power, and what this does to operators who currently provide baseload power from fossil fuels.

Dr Cristelle Maurin

Dr Maurin is a lawyer by training who has previously worked for the United Nations in East Asia and Africa. At UCL she is analysing Australian jurisdictions’ regulatory approaches to unconventional gas development, and examine the role governance and institutional arrangements play in empowering stakeholders to participate in decision making for sustainable socio-economic and environmental outcomes.

Dr Navinda De Silva

Originally from Sri Lanka, Dr de Silva is looking at the factors which will affect the success of the shale gas industry in Australia. While the industry has revolutionised the US energy market, there are different geological, fiscal and regulatory regimes in Australia. Dr de Silva is examining what should be done to ensure we reap the benefits of shale gas in a timely manner.

Dr. Darien Simon

Dr Simon, from the US, has a PhD in urban planning and policy. She is currently doing research into community engagement, and specifically what sort of low-carbon and energy industry options the communities of the Yorke Peninsula and mid-north would prefer. The research will lead to a “low-carbon prospectus” which can be used to inform government and industry on future energy developments.

Dale Potts

Mr Potts is a postdoctoral research associate at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL, developing near infra-red hyperspectral methane imaging instrumentation for use in wide instantaneous-field-of-view remote sensing. He has experience in the use of hyperspectral imaging for the calibration and validation of earth observation satellites from unmanned aerial vehicles at Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the UK.

The original article can be found on the Adelaide Advertiser website.