UCL 2034


Addressing global challenges: review of progress

At UCL, we strive to expand our understanding of the world around us through research, and maximise the impact of that research to the benefit of humanity. 

As an academic community we value the connections we make: across disciplines, across countries, and across communities. We believe that when we come together we can generate unique insights and world-leading research into complex global problems, which inform and enable evidence-based policymaking. 

The challenges we face in the future – from climate change to disease and inequality – will not be confined to one country alone, and cannot be solved in isolation. Through inspiring research leaders and nurturing cross-disciplinary research, including through the Research Domains and Grand Challenges, we will strive to help future generations live fair, healthy and rewarding lives.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research)

Case study: UCL academics win the 2018 Brain Prize

Brain Prize
The 2018 Brain Prize was awarded to Professor John Hardy (UCL Institute of Neurology) and Professor Bart De Strooper (UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL) for their research on the genetic and molecular basis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The €1m prize, the world’s most valuable prize for brain research, recognises one or more international scientists who have made outstanding contributions to neuroscience.  Professors Hardy and De Strooper were among four winners of the 2018 prize, and this marks the second year in a row that UCL researchers have been honoured in this way – an unprecedented achievement.

Professor De Strooper is the Director of the new UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, and Professor of Molecular Medicine at KU Leuven and VIB, Belgium where he carried out the research that earned him his share of the Brain Prize. Professor John Hardy is Chair of Molecular Biology of Neurological Disease at the UCL Institute of Neurology. His work on Alzheimer's disease, other dementias and Parkinson's disease is amongst the most highly cited in neuroscience, and in 2015 he was the first UK winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. 

Their pioneering research into genetic factors and mechanisms behind the formation and build-up of abnormal ‘amyloid’ proteins in the brain, which is a precursor to the development of Alzheimers, has paved the way for finding new ways to diagnose, treat and possibly even prevent it and other devastating diseases of the ageing brain.

Image: Professor Bart De Strooper and Professor John Hardy

Links: UK Dementia Research Institute / UCL Institute of Neurology

Case study: Launch of Bartlett Real Estate Institute

Bartlett Real Estate Institute launch
October 2018 saw the official launch event for the Bartlett Real Estate Institute.

Based at UCL’s campus at Here East on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the new institute has at its heart the mission to rethink the traditional views of real estate, looking beyond real estate as a tradeable commodity and examining the ways in which real estate has other value. 

The new institute will take a multidisciplinary approach to identifying, researching and solving real-world problems. Applications have recently opened for the institute’s MSc programme in Healthcare Facilities, the first programme of its kind in the UK that aims to provide a knowledge of what makes a systemic, sustainable and successful healthcare facility. An MSc in Learning Environments is also due to be launched in the coming months.

A team from the institute has also won a Butterfield Award from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation to explore spatial policies for people throughout their life in the UK and Japan. The research project ‘Design for Ageing: East Meets West’ will bring together academics from both countries, with the aim of exploring how the built environment can best be utilised to support the health and wellbeing not only of older people, but of those who care for them later in life.

Image: Yolande Barnes, who joined BREI as Chair in September 2018, delivers the keynote lecture at the launch event. Image credit: Sean Pollock

Links: Bartlett Real Estate Institute

Case study: EcoNomad

A researcher from UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering is helping small-scale farmers to convert their farm waste into renewable fuel and fertiliser.

Solutions for sustainable resource management and agricultural waste recycling tend to be expensive and developed with large-scale operations in mind. Whilst working on his PhD in Mexico, Dr Ilan Adler worked with rural, peri-urban and indigenous communities, teaching and promoting eco-technologies aimed at smaller-scale producers. After completing his PhD at UCL and becoming a full-time academic, he worked with environmental engineering students to apply the same principles to UK smallholdings, successfully installing two prototype biodigesters at Surrey Docks Farm.

After receiving support and mentoring from UCL Innovation & Enterprise, Ilan won a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship, which enabled him to launch his business, EcoNomad Solutions Ltd. Ilan and has gone on to develop, refine and start prototyping a suite of technologies including biogas units and rainwater harvesting systems. 

After winning further funding from Santander, Ilan has also installed a solar pump prototype at the CICY research institute in Yucatan, Mexico, in preparation for the eventual roll-out of EcoNomad’s products in the developing world. Ilan's vision is to create appropriately sized, affordable and sustainable solutions that can be replicated in smallholdings across the UK and, eventually, across the EU and developing countries.

Image: Ilan Adler at Surrey Docks Farm. Image credit: Ilan Adler/EcoNomad

Links: UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering / EcoNomad Solutions

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