UCL 2034


London's Global University: review of progress

Universities are 'of their place', shaped by the city and country in which they are, and in turn shaping and influencing these.

UCL, as London’s Global University, absolutely reflects this. We are in London, an integral part of the city physically, architecturally, culturally, economically. We are of London, reflecting its strengths and challenges, with London core to our identity and outlook, and – with staff and students from over 150 countries – global in reach.  

And as a world-leading, comprehensive, research-intensive university we have outstanding opportunities to be 'for' London. Vital is partnership, a great strength of UCL. Working with our many partners from amongst London’s communities, leaders, businesses and organisations, we have the opportunity to unlock outstanding outcomes and overcome challenges for this great city we share.

Dr Celia Caulcott, UCL Vice-Provost (Enterprise & London)

Case study: in2scienceUK

A Camden-based start-up founded by a UCL student is helping young Londoners from low income backgrounds to connect with scientific researchers.

Young people often find it difficult to get work experience and career advice in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), due to a lack of contacts. The non-profit organisation in2scienceUK, the brainchild of Rebecca McKelvey, is working to help open doors for them in these fields.

Rebecca identified the need for such an organisation while studying for a PhD in Neuroscience at the UCL Division of Biosciences. With university researchers in STEM subjects volunteering and being mentors to these students, as well as creating opportunities for young people to experience labs and other practical aspects of STEM, Rebecca imagined more young people would be inspired to study subjects that would maximise their future employability.

Rebecca entered the UCL Bright Ideas Award competition (now the ‘Launch £10,000 programme’) and won the £10,000 prize. Gaining a space at The Hatchery – UCL’s business incubator for startups and new enterprises – and with other support from UCL Innovation & Enterprise, she was able to turn her ideas into reality.

She quickly put her ideas into action in secondary schools across London, providing mentors from universities, science placements and careers guidance to more than 1,000 young people. To date, in2scienceUK has worked with 326 schools and 590 volunteer researchers – of whom 339 are based at UCL – who offer their time to inspire young people. A total of 80% of participants have progressed to university and 75% of have gone on to study STEM subjects. 

The organisation, which is a partner at the Knowledge Quarter (the cluster of world-leading organisations based around King’s Cross, Euston and Bloomsbury), was Highly Commended in the Knowledge Partners Award category at the 2017 Camden Business Awards.

in2ScienceUK has recently won a £250,000 grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to continue its work and plans to expand across the UK in the next five years.

Image credit: In2Science UK

Links: in2scienceUK

Case study: Making use of coal mine waste

Coal mine waste
Coal mining waste is being transformed into ochre pigments for use in fine art paint manufacture, in a multi-disciplinary project devised by a Slade School researcher. 

When Onya McCausland visited a former coalfield in Lancashire, she found both a source of materials for her paintings and a potential business idea. Water treatment plants based at several former coal mines produce clean water for local systems. In the process, they extract and leave behind some 4,000 tonnes of ochre waste a year.

Onya, studying for a PhD at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, saw the possibility of transforming this waste into ochre pigments for the fine art market; a project that also attracted interest from UCL’s Earth Sciences Department and UCL Culture.

Supported by advice from  UCL Innovation & Enterprise, which also helped her secure funding, Onya developed a feasibility study and business case. This led to the signing of a commercial agreement between UCL and The Coal Authority (TCA).

UCL and the TCA are also developing a public engagement project with the National Coal Mining Museum England and Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. The intention is to positively alter public perceptions of coal mining waste.

The colours developed from coal mining waste by Onya were displayed at Five Landscapes, an exhibition staged at UCL in April this year. Each colour was developed from mine water from treatment schemes in five former coal mines in Scotland, Lancashire, Yorkshire and South Wales. Meanwhile, Onya has been awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Slade, allowing her to continue her work for the next three years.

Image: Ochre wall installation at UCL Slade Research Centre. Credit: Onya McCausland and UCL

Links: UCL Slade School of Fine Art / Onya McCausland

Case study: Championing gender equality in schools in London and beyond

gender equality
The UCL Institute of Education is working with the Institute of Physics, the University Council of Modern Languages and King’s College London to challenge gender stereotypes and make sure that no child is held back by societal expectations of their gender. 

Research shows that children’s career choices begin to be fixed from as early as age four, contributing to gender disparities right across the curriculum, with around 40% more boys taking STEM subjects for A Level, and 98% of those working in the early years sector being female. 

The Gender Action schools award programme, announced at the Greater London Authority (GLA) by the Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, is based on a decade’s worth of research and provides the practical support schools need to put gender equality at the heart of everything they do. The programme will support schools to put in place systems, structures and behaviours that allow students to reach their full potential, free from the limitations created by gender stereotyping. 

Funding from the GLA, as part of the Mayor of London’s #behindeverygreatcity campaign, has enabled Gender Action to undertake a Phase 1 roll-out in London schools. This will be followed by a national rollout in 2020.

Registration is open to education settings from nurseries through to further education colleges, as well as special schools and pupil referral units. The award programme provides tools to benchmark each school’s current policies and practices against national best practice, and a framework to ensure continued development. 

Image credit: Pixabay

Links: UCL Institute of Education / Gender Action


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