UCL Annual Review


Working together to tackle the world's problems

UCL is committed to global innovation, applying a depth and breadth of expertise to complex real-world problems. By fostering cross-disciplinary interaction and by prioritising adaptability, we generate novel insights into and solutions to the challenges facing humanity today.

 UCL’s annual economic impact comparable to London 2012 Olympics

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An independent report into UCL’s economic and social impact has found that UCL’s annual impact of £9.9bn across the UK is comparable to the trade boost delivered by the London 2012 Olympics.
Led by policy and economics consultancy London Economics, the report reviewed UCL’s impact from a diverse range of activity including research, entrepreneurship, teaching and educational exports in the 2018-19 academic year. It found that every pound spent by UCL produced £5.90 in economic benefit across the UK, which is a 12% increase in UCL’s impact since 2015-16.
The report showed how UCL are supporting to the economy and contributing to the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda by creating 19,000 full-time jobs across the UK (of which 7,400 were outside London) and promoting economic growth by investing £3bn through our supply chain. Just over a third of this impact occurs outside of London.
The report confirmed the significant role UCL plays in training up the future workforce, tackling global challenges through research and development and attracting overseas students.
Key findings of the report: 
  • UCL generated £9.9bn of economic impact across the UK in 2018/19 – comparable every year to the trade boost delivered by the 2012 London Olympics 
  • For every pound spent by UCL, £5.90 was generated in economic benefit 
  • UCL’s research and knowledge exchange provides its largest economic impact, £4.1bn across the UK economy in 2018/19 
  • The economic impact generated by UCL’s teaching and learning activities was £990 million in 2018/19 
  • The economic contribution generated by international students in the UCL 2018/19 cohort amounts amounted to £1.7bn in 2018/19 
  • The £1.6bn total expenditure on UCL activities in 2018/19 generated a total economic benefit of over £3bn 
  • UCL’s spending supported a total of 19,075 jobs across the UK economy in 2018/19 
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Work continues on new world-class facility to fight neurological disorders 

Work continued at pace on our ground-breaking programme to create the world’s leading translational neuroscience centre. A new landmark facility at 256 Grays Inn Road will support our existing facilities at Queen Square to create one of the leading translational neuroscience centres in the world. 

In early 2022, we reached the deepest point of the building's excavations at 16 metres below ground burying a time capsule in the depths of the building, including a range of objects that tell the story of the centre’s foundation, including a book of testimonials, a selection of commonly used lab items in 2022, a COVID vaccine vial and research image photographs from early career researchers and students. 

Scheduled for completion in 2024, this new facility is a partnership between UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, the UK Dementia Research Institute and UCLH National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. It will serve to support UCL research into breakthrough treatments to fight neurological diseases, like dementia, now the world’s leading cause of disability. We are investing in innovation and collaboration, using cutting-edge technology, shared laboratory space, equipment and central services to create new and more efficient ways of working and bringing research scientists, clinicians and patients under one roof together to enable an active dialogue between individuals with neurological diseases, their doctors and researchers.

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UCL selected to be part of Met Office Academic Partnership 

A huge wave breaks on a sea wall next to a lighthouse, throwing spray far up into the air.
A select group of universities including UCL have been selected for the Met Office Academic Partnership (MOAP). The partnership which has featured UCL since 2020 aims to better understand the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and the affects that these have on society.  

Through the partnership, UCL will build on existing projects with the Met Office by bringing together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from 12 UCL departments and centres, including the recently established Advanced Research Computing Centre, to transform hazard and data science in weather and climate modelling to help tackle global issues. 

UCL’s contribution will focus on three main areas: 

  • improving risk-based decision making by increasing our understanding of the impacts of environmental hazards 
  • using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to remain at the cutting edge of weather and climate prediction 
  • developing a federated cloud data platform for use by the Met Office and partner scientists and experts. 

The UCL Met Office Joint Chair is Professor Serge Guillas in Statistical Science. 

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Launch of the UCL Policy Lab 

Lisa Nandy speaking at an event at UCL's Policy Lab
UCL has launched a new Policy Lab to transform debates on key policy issues through radical innovation and collaboration.  

With the support of the UCL Departments of Political Science and Economics, the Lab acts as a space for innovative ideas, methods, and ways of doing public policy. It brings together world-leading researchers from across UCL with campaigners, politicians, philanthropists, businesspeople and more, acknowledging that today’s problems no longer respect the narrow, traditional boundaries of research or policy. 

Officially launched at the close of the last academic year, with speeches from the Provost and President, Michael Spence, the out-going Dean, Sasha Roseneil, the in-coming Dean, Jennifer Hudson, and leading external collaborators, the playwright, James Graham, economist, Paul Johnson, and campaigner, Chrisann Jarrett, the Lab is working on some of the biggest policy challenges, both domestic and international. Early funded projects include:  

  • Tackling inequality in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation  
  • Reforming immigration policy in partnership with the Refugee, Asylum and Migration Policy (RAMP) cross-party group 
  • Improving good governance in the UK by providing in-detail support to public policy officials, supported by Unbound Philanthropy. 
Find out more:  


  • A wave breaks in a storm near a lighthouse in Porthcawl, Wales. Image credit: iStock / Dwryan
  • Lisa Nandy, the UK' Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, speaking at the UCL Policy Lab. Image credit: Jørn Tomter for UCL Policy Lab

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