UCL 2034


Delivering global impact: review of progress

UCL is London’s Global University: we aim to work with partners to achieve fair solutions to global challenges.

We recognise that no one institution, no matter how prestigious, can solve these problems alone.

Through our Global Engagement Strategy, we’ve been building and strengthening our international partnerships. We believe that by sharing our expertise and working together, UCL academics, staff, students and their global partners can have the greatest impact.

Over the past three years, Global Engagement funding programmes have benefited more than 550 academics, with £760k of internal funding allocated leveraging more than £23.3m of external funding so far.

The UCL-University of Toronto joint funding stream has been supporting collaborations addressing challenges in the areas of cities, child health, education, and more.

The Cities partnerships Programme, part of UCL’s triple track European strategy created in response to Brexit, has funded 66 projects across all 11 faculties, working with 55 partners in Rome and Paris. It has supported over 80 events with academics across the university.

The further examples below are a sample of the world-class, creative and interdisciplinary work taking place across UCL, which we are delighted to facilitate and support.

Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice-Provost (International)

Case study: Creating a blueprint for better integration for the forcibly displaced worldwide

Hands together in a circle
UCL researchers are working on how to build a prosperous and inclusive future for the more than 70 million people forcibly displaced globally due to war, climate change and political instability.

The RELIEF Centre, based in the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity, carries out research focused on measuring prosperity and inclusive growth, with particular on Lebanon which has the highest concentration per capita of refugees in the world, where there are around 1.5 million refugees.

Mass displacement can put huge pressure on infrastructure, resources and public services, such as water, transport, food and waste, affecting the quality of life of everyone in the country.

The RELIEF Centre works with partners from across UCL’s faculties, and with local partners and universities, to explores the role of education as a practical intervention that can help both displaced people and their hosts, and contribute to the creation of inclusive growth and prosperity.

The project aims to bring in the experiences of the community in Lebanon to develop practical real world solutions. Professor Henrietta Moore (Founder and Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity) said:

"By exploring diverse themes including urban design, education and skills development, public health and inclusive economic growth, we hope to co-create a new model for sustainable prosperity that can be resilient even in the face of the most extreme circumstances".

Image credit: Perry Grone, Source: Unsplash 

Links: UCL Bartlett

Case study: Working with global partners to tackle chronic pain in children 

Doctor checking a patient's reactions
While there has been increasing research that includes neuroimaging to understand chronic pain in adults, there are only about five studies in the world focusing on chronic pain in children – but these do not include a broad range of causes of pain.

There is a need for research as the impact of pain and the types of medical conditions associated with it can differ between children and adults. UCL has teamed up with the University of Toronto to investigate chronic pain in children, with support from the UCL-University of Toronto Strategic Partner Funds, to investigate the mechanisms of paediatric chronic pain, which affects a reported 15-20% of children and young people worldwide.

UCL and the University of Toronto are uniquely placed to carry out this research as both have close links with large children’s hospitals renowned for their strong commitment to research; Great Ormond Street Hospital in the UK, and SickKids Hospital in Canada.

A year on from receiving their UCL-University of Toronto matched funding, the collaboration is going from strength to strength. Joint meetings have allowed the two institutions to share protocols and match their approaches before combining the data.

While there is more work to be done, it is hoped that the research will propel the science and change the thinking around paediatric pain.

Video: UCL and University of Toronto: Understanding chronic pain in children

Image: Screenshot from the video of the project.

Links: Population Health Sciences

Case study: Biogas research project awarded Horizon 2020 funding

biogas treatment huts
NOMAD, which stands for Novel Organics Recovery using Mobile ADvanced technology, was awarded €5.5m in Horizon 2020 funding in May 2019.

The project aims to make significant contributions to a more circular resource-efficient and sustainable agro-food sector. It will gather partners from China, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania and the UK to develop a small-scale tech solution to recover nutrients from biogas effluent to formulate high performance bio-fertiliser products.

Biogas is naturally produced when organic waste, such as food scraps and animal waste, break down in an environment without oxygen (anerobically) and release a blend of gases. The effluent (liquid waste) left over from the decomposition is full of living organisms that are beneficial to plants, seeds and soils. NOMAD was started by Dr Aiduan Borrion (UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering) and addresses key production issues such as environmental and health risks, handling, variable composition and the increasing volume being produced.

Turning this effluent into bio-fertiliser products is not currently feasible for most small biofuel plants due to lack of cost-effective equipment, and having to ensure that the materials are of consistent quality and fit for purpose. But NOMAD proposes an original, disruptive and creative approach by offering a modular and mobile solution tailored to both rural and urban areas.

It was the ground-breaking nature of NOMAD’s proposed work, and its disruptive, creative approach to repurposing biogas effluent, that won NOMAD its Horizon funding.

Image credit: Can Stock Photo Inc. / manfredxy

Links: UCL Engineering


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