Latest Social & Historical Sciences News

International UCL-led study prompts rethink on the rise of diabetes in cities

Publication date:

Cities Changing Diabetes

New research led by UCL for the Cities Changing Diabetes partnership shows socio-cultural factors including time pressure, commuting time and where you live play significant roles in diabetes vulnerability.

Engraved stones revealed at ice age pioneer basecamp

Publication date:

Engraved stones

Archaeologists from the UK working in the Channel Island of Jersey have found the remains of a 14,000 year old hunter-gatherer settlement offering great views over landscapes now drowned by the English Channel. 

Feeding Stonehenge: what was on the menu for Stonehenge’s builders, 2500 BC

Publication date:


Archaeologists from a consortium of universities including UCL have found out what people ate while building Stonehenge, by analysing the food residues preserved in their pots as well as the animal bones and other food waste from the large settlement of Durrington Walls near Stonehenge.

Islamist insurgency strongly influences where polio occurs

Publication date:

Polio Vaccination Campaign in South Sudan

Islamist insurgency has had a strong effect on where polio cases occur since 2011, potentially as a reaction to the use of counterinsurgency strategies, according to new research led by UCL.

How the Inuit adapted to Ice Age living and a high-fat diet

Publication date:


Greenland natives – the Inuit – have mutations in genes that control how the body uses fat which provides the clearest evidence to date that human populations are adapted to particular diets according to new UCL research. The genetic differences allow the Inuit to physically adapt to survive Arctic conditions and live healthily on a traditional diet which is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from marine mammal fat.

Seven Ponds in Seven Days

Publication date:

Helen Greaves and Emily Alderton

Kicking off on 20 September, a conservation project in Norfolk is highlighting the vital role of ponds in the English countryside as part of a “seven ponds in seven days” restoration challenge.

Scientists warn only ‘simplified’, degraded tropical forest may remain by end of century

Publication date:

Cut Tree

A new and more dangerous phase of impacts on the world’s remaining tropical forests is emerging, threatening to simplify the world’s most diverse ecosystem including mass species loss, according to new UCL-led research published today in Science. 

Heat release from stagnant deep sea helped end last Ice Age

Publication date:

Arctic Ice Shelf

The build-up and subsequent release of warm, stagnant water from the deep Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas played a role in ending the last Ice Age within the Arctic region, according to new research led by a UCL scientist.

Professor Chris Husbands takes up new post as Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University 

Publication date:

Professor Chris Husbands

Professor Chris Husbands, Director of the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and Vice-Provost (Academic Development & London) has announced that he will be leaving UCL to take up the appointment of Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University from January 2016.

UCL digital research facility gets go-ahead

Publication date:

NASA image of UK

The Government has committed to investing £4 million in a new facility at UCL to help policymakers develop ways of evening out the UK’s regional economic divides. This figure is matched by an additional £5.6 million of institutional funding.

UCL academics elected as British Academy Fellows

Publication date:

British Academy Fellows

Four academics from UCL have been elected as Fellows of the British Academy in recognition of their outstanding research in the humanities and social sciences.

Mapping the people of Scotland

Publication date:

How people travel to work or study in Edinburgh

Researchers at UCL have mapped the people of Scotland in unprecedented detail.

The project, ‘DataShine Scotland’, commissioned by National Records of Scotland and the Scottish Government, uses data from Scotland’s Census 2011 to show over 1,000 social characteristics for over 46,000 Scottish areas. These cover everything from health and education through to housing conditions and how people travel to work.

Missing people project wins ESRC impact award

Publication date:


The Geographies of Missing People, a research project co-designed by the Acting Head of UCL Public Policy, Dr Olivia Stevenson, has won the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Society.

Unique social structure of hunter-gatherers explained

Publication date:

Elderly Agta couple, Philippines

Sex equality in residential decision-making explains the unique social structure of hunter-gatherers, a new UCL study reveals.

Epoch-defining study pinpoints when humans came to dominate planet Earth

Publication date:

Columbian Exchange

The human-dominated geological epoch known as the Anthropocene probably began around the year 1610, with an unusual drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the irreversible exchange of species between the New and Old Worlds, according to new research published today in Nature.

Computer reconstruction of human fossil sheds light on our origins

Publication date:

Handy man 1

The fossil of Homo habilis, or ‘handy man’, has undergone state-of-the-art computer reconstruction, revealing new information about its jaw shape which indicates the species has older evolutionary roots than previously thought and shows that three different Homo species existed between 2.1 and 1.6 million years ago, according to UCL researchers who led the study.

UCL rated top UK university by research strength in the REF2014

Publication date:

UCL number 1 REF

UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in the new Research Excellence Framework 2014 published today, by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted. 

Research Images as Art/Art Images as Research: winners announced

Publication date:

Birds of a Feather by Chris Falla (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)

A striking image demonstrating the science behind a flock of starlings in flight has been announced as the winner of this year’s Research Images as Art/Art Images as Research competition, run by the UCL Doctoral School.

Influential UK birth cohort studies to be brought together for first time

Publication date:


One outcome of the IOE and UCL merger coming into effect today will be that all five of the UK’s national birth cohort studies will be housed at the same institution for the first time, forming the largest concentration of birth cohort expertise in the world.

Scientific methods shed new light on evolution of kinship patterns

Publication date:

People of the Makua (Makhuwa) Bantu ethnic group in Mozambique

New biological methods used to trace the evolutionary history of kinship patterns shed new light on how societies developed as farming spread across the globe during the Neolithic, according to new research by a UCL-led international team.

UCL and the Institute of Education confirm merger

Publication date:


UCL and the Institute of Education (IOE) have today confirmed that they will be merging with effect from 2 December. The merger will create a new institution with over 35,000 students, confirming UCL as the biggest higher education institution in London, and the largest postgraduate institution in the UK, with 19,000 postgraduate students. It will have over 11,000 staff and a combined income of over £1bn.

Laser scanning accurately ‘weighs’ trees

Publication date:

Tree scanning 1

A terrestrial laser scanning technique that allows the structure of vegetation to be 3D-mapped to the millimetre is more accurate in determining the biomass of trees and carbon stocks in forests than current methods, according to new research involving UCL.

‘London: the Information Capital’ showcases UCL data and mapping research

Publication date:

London: The Information Capital

A new book bursting with London maps and infographics, published last week, is the result of a year of intense work by Dr James Cheshire (UCL Geography) and designer Oliver Uberti.

Positive economic impact of UK immigration from the European Union: new evidence

Publication date:


European immigrants to the UK have paid more in taxes than they received in benefits, helping to relieve the fiscal burden on UK-born workers and contributing to the financing of public services – according to new research by the UCL Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM).

Publishers address concerns on ‘total cost of ownership’ of e-resources

Publication date:

open access

UCL welcomes the news that two major academic publishers are tackling the issue of subscription costs and the level of article-processing charges (APCs).

Search UCL News