Since its foundation, UCL has been a natural home for innovative thinkers from all backgrounds – those who bring fresh perspectives and new approaches to tackling complex global problems.
UCL2034 seeks to support those thinkers now and for the future, creating a supportive home and enabling environment for our academics to excel.
Some of our achievements this year have been high-profile, attracting media headlines, such as the Duchess of Cambridge’s recent visit to developmental neuroscientists in UCL Psychology and Language Sciences. Others have been less prominent, but no less significant in their impact. Either way, they reinforce UCL’s reputation and pave the way for new opportunities.
Our academic achievements in 2018 have ensured that UCL retains its place in the global top 10: we truly are a world-leading university.
UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur
Case study: New Deepmind Professorship will push the frontiers of AI knowledge
Two of Deepmind’s founders, Demis Hassabis and Shane Legg, are UCL alumni and met whilst carrying out postdoctoral research at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit. Since its formation, Deepmind has become one of the biggest names in AI, coming to prominence when its self-learning programme AlphaGo took on a human grand master of the complex Chinese game Go, and won four games out of five.
Deepmind’s mission is to “solve intelligence” and the company have maintained close links with UCL, supporting the university with philanthropic funding and looking for new ways to utilise AI. Recently Deepmind Health, with UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital, developed an AI system that was as successful as an expert clinician at recommending the correct referral decision for over 50 eye diseases.
As well as the Professorship, Deepmind’s gift will also support two post-doctoral research associates and one PhD student, creating new opportunities for discovery and engagement in this transformative and rapidly-evolving sector. The Deepmind Professor is expected to be in post by September 2019.
Image: Demis Hassabis at UCL in March 2018 at a screening of the AlphaGo movie. L-R Professor David Price, Demis Hassabis, Larissa Suzuki, UCL alumna and computer sciences entrepreneur, and Thore Graepel, Professor of Machine Learning at UCL. Image credit: UCL Office of the Vice Provost (Advancement)
Case study: POPREBEL research consortium awarded €3m Horizon 2020 grant
The aim of POPREBEL is to take stock of the recent rise of populism in its various forms in Central and Eastern Europe. The research teams, comprising experts in subjects ranging from economics to cultural studies, will examine the causes, meanings and consequences of the rise in populism, as well as the potential implications for the continent as a whole.
This is the second large project that the SSEES-led consortium has won, following the award of €3.5 million to fund an Innovative Training Network on ‘Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Illiberalism/Populism’ (FATIGUE).
Image credit: UCL SSEES
Case study: Digital Secretary opens new Quantum Laboratories at UCL
The new labs and cleanroom facilities are part of the UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute (UCLQ) and the London Centre for Nanotechnology. The labs will enable research into quantum technologies, offering tools for nano-fabrication and the measurement of quantum devices at ultra-low temperatures.
As well as providing these critical research and fabrication tools, the facilities will be an integral part of UCL’s world-leading quantum technology training programmes.
They will provide a boost to UCL’s world-renowned research into quantum technologies, helping to bring academic and business leaders together to accelerate the translation of quantum technologies into the marketplace and ensuring that the UK remains a world leader in quantum technology markets. UK government investment into quantum technology to date means that industries such as transport, finance, aeronautical and pharmaceutical are starting to consider how quantum computing could revolutionise their businesses.
The labs are funded through a combined investment of £12 million, with support from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the National Quantum Technology Programme.
Image: Professor John Morton shows Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright around UCLQ's new laboratories. Credit: UCLQ
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