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Portico in spring

Rationale

UCL Research Frontiers

UCL cherishes curiosity and imagination, and holds that the expansion of knowledge and scholarship is valuable in its own right.

Research driven by individual curiosity and imagination has been the foundation of human intellectual advance and the benefits that has provided, and is central to UCL’s conception of excellence and leadership. Enduring excellence, derived from talented individuals’ curiosity about and commitment to their chosen subject areas, is the prerequisite of research leadership. We continue to see the successful development of such curiosity as the foundation of the university’s contribution to knowledge and society.

Within the domain curiosity-driven research there can be a critical role for cross-disciplinarity, where adoption of methods or analogies from other disciplines is often part of the most creative and innovative research.

At UCL, we can achieve even more significant outcomes when our experts from different disciplines act together. Greater understanding and novel insights arise when the breadth of specialist knowledge is considered collectively. We believe that a researcher working in an environment where a wide range of advances are being made, and which can act as a source of inspiration, has greater potential to be a better researcher than one within a narrow, deeply siloed institute. Often, the most significant new opportunities for intellectual activity arise when such interactions between disciplines prove especially fruitful, and it is not coincidence that the vast majority of our new research centres and similar investments are at cross-disciplinary interfaces.

Fundamental questions can rarely be answered using the findings of a single research advance. We believe that the appropriate approach is for pioneering researchers to work together to build a cross-disciplinary synthesis responding to these questions, linking into a bigger picture both their own advances and those made by other leaders in their discipline.

Through interaction between disciplinary experts – rather than interdisciplinary generalists – our collective subject-specific knowledge can be made greater than the sum of its parts. This must be the essential and unique added value of a 21st century research-intensive multifaculty university such as UCL.

UCL is committed to realising the impact of a global university. This commitment recognises that the timescales for impact vary from hours to centuries as, for example, experts offer wise commentary on contemporary events and as fundamental discoveries play out their full benefits to civilisation.

Page last modified on 14 may 12 16:55