UoA 44: UCL Psychology

The key strategic aim of UCL Psychology is to be a world leader, always improving its position and running vigorous and diverse research programmes at the cutting edge of the discipline. To achieve this aim, we provide a stimulating and supportive intellectual environment, nurture younger research staff, recruit both at junior and senior levels, and engage in regular interactions with top psychology departments world-wide (research collaborations; visitor exchanges both ways; drawing students from the best institutions internationally). Critically we have attracted and retained outstanding, globally mobile academic staff in competition with other world leading institutions. The research environment is structured to maximize the benefits of combining internationally-recognized research with a deep commitment to professional training, employing expertise in basic research to aid understanding of applied problems, while also taking applied issues as a starting point for explorations in basic science. The success of this strategy has been considerable: staff returned to UoA44 have published 1700 articles in the assessment period, many in leading high-impact journals, and won £20M in competitive research funding (£80M if grants held collaboratively in other departments/institutions are included). Our vision of psychology is outward-looking and multidisciplinary, connecting to a range of other subjects such as neuroscience, economics, linguistics, computer science, statistics, medicine, and engineering.

Key features of our general strategy are:

  • Major Research Centres: maintaining an effective research environment and infrastructure, based around major research groups led by outstanding individuals and funded by regular and longer term research grants.
  • Interdisciplinarity: facilitating and resourcing collaborative work incorporating a broad range of related disciplines.
  • International Interaction: interacting globally through visitors, numerous international collaborations, a high intensity of international conference participation, training networks, major involvement in editorial work for leading international journals, plus staff and student recruitment.
  • Application to Significant Issues in Health and Wellbeing: supporting this key aspect of the research of many staff members and of the research centres to which they are attached.
  • Career Development for Junior Staff: operating a well structured career-development programme for junior staff, including a mentoring programme and continual interaction within and across research groups.
  • Well Resourced State-of-the-Art Doctoral Programmes: running training programmes with a significant teaching component, including PhD-specific courses in theory, methods, and core skills, opportunities for international exchange, major involvement with research centres, and extensive interaction with experts.


In 2001 UCL biomedicine consisted of two faculties (Clinical Sciences and Life Sciences) and five recently incorporated research institutes. There was a perceived lack of organizational coherence and consequently a research effort that was not sufficiently integrated. A period of intense consultation culminated in a formal review by an international panel (Chair: Sir Keith Peters) at the end of 2005. As a result, Clinical Sciences and the research institutes were amalgamated into a single Faculty of Biomedical Sciences in 2006 composed of 13 thematically based research divisions. The thematic programmes are aligned where appropriate with partner NHS Trusts.

A further review followed the strategic decision to retain an independent FLS in 2006 (Chair: Professor Alan North). As a result the FLS was re-structured from 8 departments into 2 divisions. Psychology falls within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences. The FBS and FLS together constitute UCL’s School of Life and Medical Sciences, created to foster inter-disciplinarity and a coherent medical curriculum.

Within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, and alongside returns from the Division to UoAs 58 (Linguistics) and 12 (Allied Health Professions and Studies), UCL Psychology is large (65 category A and C academic staff returned to this UoA; nearly 70 research staff; plus 30 support staff) and has a broad range of its own research resources. In addition, via the close connections of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (in which UCL Psychology is the major investor) with UCL neuroscience activity at Queen Square, we have regular access to 3 Siemens fMRI scanners at 1.5T and 3T (Siemens Allegra, Sonata, and Trio) and to a 275-channel state-of-the-art MEG system. The ICN’s location and academic links in Queen Square facilitate access to the unique clinical populations and resources of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Further populations are accessible through the extensive NHS and education authority links of staff in clinical/health/educational psychology. Some UCL Psychology staff are returned to UoA9, reflecting the extremely close linkages between UCL Psychology and Neuroscience.

Research is organised into 3 thematic units, each with a coherent vision for developing its research strategy and management:

  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Experimental psychology
  • Clinical, health, and educational psychology


In addition to their primary membership of one of the groups described above, staff are engaged in a range of interdisciplinary research centres and cross-cutting projects which involve collaborations with researchers from other parts of UCL, including the:

  • Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution
  • ESRC Deafness, Cognition, and Language Research Centre
  • CoMPLEX: Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology
  • Centre for Human Communication.
  • Leverhulme/ESRC Evidence Project.
  • [K] The EPSRC Earthquake and People Research Centre


Download full text of the RA5a statement for Psychology (pdf 196Kb)

Staff names below link to submitted publications:

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Page last modified on 18 jan 08 15:57