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Our Research Landscape

Credit: Gemma Cassells

UCL’s new Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP) is putting into practice its aim to be ‘global in reach and applied in focus’ by developing a suite of research projects that cut across academic, policy and geographical divides. STEaPP’s research portfolio is centred on investigating and experimenting with the ways knowledge shapes decision-making in the wake of today’s major global challenges. STEaPP focuses on the knowledge systems and science-policy interfaces that underpin decision-making at the local, national and international scale. The Department is developing cutting-edge research that is not just interdisciplinary in nature, but also inherently impact-driven and comprehensible for policymakers.

Core to the STEaPP’s approach is the concept of ‘action research’ and the principle of ‘co-production’ with academic, policy and industry partners outside of the Department in the design and execution of STEaPP’s research initiatives. This takes STEaPP research to collaborate, experiment and engage with key international stakeholders like the World Bank, UN-Habitat, government bodies and national institutions like the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, as well as local communities and non-governmental associations. This co-productionist and action frame applies to both major externally-funded research programmes like Liveable Cities and Urban Connections as much as to smaller in-depth research pilots. Our action research agenda is geared towards a progressive problem-solving approach: STEaPP researchers see themselves as part of a wider community of practice where academia is an embedded, accountable and positive force of knowledge mobilization for societal change. STEaPP’s action research is a reflective process that acknowledges its position and responsibility within the wider world it seeks to examine, aiming to understand the world as much as trying to change it.

These principles extends across a series of key domains for STEaPP's current research: urbanisation; climate, energy and environment; humanitarianism and development; and the role of STEM in policy and policymaking.

Current Projects

icif-square International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) is creating a shared, facilitated learning environment in which social scientists, engineers, industrialists, policy makers and other stakeholders can research and learn together to understand how better to exploit the technical and market opportunities that emerge from the increased interdependence of infrastructure systems.
Liveable Cities Small

Liveable Cities is an ambitious, five-year programme of research to develop a method of designing and engineering low carbon, resource secure, wellbeing maximised UK cities. The UCL STEaPP team is specifically responsible for research on policy and governance for liveable cities.

decc-small LUKES (Longitudinal UK Energy Survey) is a project on the feasibility of a large-scale UK longitudinal panel of energy use in homes with the aim of advising HM Government and the Research Councils UK on whether such a study is a cost effective investment. The study examined the case for such a panel – named LUKES (the Longitudinal UK Energy Survey) - as well as the design and methods needed to execute it.
City Leadership Initiative The City Leadership Initiative responds to pressing concerns about the future of cities and city leadership in the 21st century. The Studio’s flagship initiative, the two-year "Urban Connections” project, focuses on developing a global survey of city leadership and strategic urban plans with an eye at informing practice, scholarship and education for the ‘next generation’ of city leaders. The Studio also carries out a suite of other thematic initiatives in partnership with key urban stakeholders, surveying issues like place promotion and city networking, urban safety and city diplomacy.
UCL Logo Understanding the impact of UCL BEAMS on UK public policy aims to map prior and on-going UCL research within BEAMS that impacts or could impact on public policy organisations with science/engineering-relevant portfolios in the UK. It will identify best practice and indicators of effectiveness of impact from past activities  by reviewing the literature on impact, analyzing impact case studies, and interviewing academics and policymakers and other stakeholders
ipcc-logo The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has involved several of UCL STEaPP’s academic staff over the past several years. The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) cycle of the IPCC has involved staff as government delegates, members of Scientific Steering Groups, report authors and facilitators

Page last modified on 15 may 15 10:10