Yale UCL Collaborative: House of Commons event

29 June 2011

Yale-UCL House of Commons EventMinister of State for Universities, David Willetts

Senior leaders and scientists from Yale and UCL mixed with Government Ministers, MPs and Peers at an event at the House of Commons this week, which aimed to raise awareness of the Yale-UCL Collaborative as a novel research model and example of transatlantic working.

During his State visit to the UK in May 2011President Barack Obama pledged to improve research links with the UK. This event showcased the Yale-UCL Collaborative as a leading example of transatlantic research collaboration.

Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Universities, David Willetts said:

“Unlocking the potential of the UK’s Life Science sector is a top priority for the Government and this sort of pioneering, collaborative model of global research can play a vital role in that. It is an example of the kind of UK/US collaboration we had hoped for after the Prime Minister and President Obama’s recent announcement and I congratulate the two Universities.”

The event, hosted by George Freeman, newly elected MP following a 15-year career in Biomedicine, and UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant, presented the innovative alliance formed between Yale and UCL to improve global health through scientific research, clinical and educational collaboration.

The Collaborative is the brain child of Professor John Martin (UCL Medicine) and Professor Mike Simons (Yale Medicine). The core mission of the Collaborative is educating to enable citizens to make positive contributions to society; interpreting complex societal issues; and solving important problems through collaborative research and implementation of research discoveries.

Professor Simons, who will be awarded an honorary degree from UCL this week, said: “The Yale UCL Collaborative started as an enterprise between ourselves as a way to advance the field of cardiology. We, and the leadership at Yale, UCL, UCL Partners and Yale-New Haven Hospital soon recognised the potential of this collaboration to provide benefits which would exceed the sum of the constituents, and tackle fundamental problems, and this gave rise to a legal agreement being signed in 2009 by both university Presidents and the heads of Yale-New Haven Hospital and UCL Partners. ”

Professor Martin added: “The Collaborative has grown and expanded beyond what we first envisaged, as a result of much enthusiasm from the ground upwards and now encompasses interaction between many departments from history to vascular disease to nanoscience to oncology. It has spread beyond biomedicine to encompass other subjects such as the humanities and law. The first 18 months have been about establishing the proof of concept and now we’re seeking to expand further and embed the collaborative fully.”

Whereas interaction between researchers at different universities is normal, and continues at both Yale and UCL, what differentiates the Yale UCL Collaborative is the organisational support for the Collaborative, and the ability to explore new thinking based on the most recent research findings in a collaborative way, which leads to hypotheses. Retreats are the model used to explore this, bringing together faculty members from both organisations to consider and discuss their latest findings in a collaborative rather than competitive way, and this model has lead to successful grant awards. 

Images:

Professor Sir John Tooke, Professor Peter Coveney, Professor John Martin, Professor Mark Marsh, Professor James Rothman, Mary Hu, Professor Michael Simons, Professor Robert Alpern, Professor Michael Worton

Minister of State for Universities, David Willetts, speaking at the event


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UCL and Yale unite to improve global health