The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU's Dr Andrea Rigon awarded a UCL Education Award

27 July 2018

Congratulations to Dr Andrea Rigon who has been awarded a UCL Education Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education at UCL.

andrea rigon

Dr Andrea Rigon, lecturer on the MSc Social Development Practice programme and our Director of Studies, has recently been awarded a UCL Education Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education at UCL. Amongst the motivations, Andrea’s work to set up the Dissertation Fellowship scheme. In short, a dissertation fellowship is a dissertation in which the student develops a dissertation topic within a research area proposed by either an external partner (Development NGO; civil society organisation, development consultancy) or a DPU research project. 43 PG students have already completed the scheme in 2017.

These fellowships were built embedding four core dimensions of UCL connected curriculum. These fellowships connect students with researchers and with the institution’s research. They also ensure that a throughline of research activity is built into each programme. Moreover, by working with a partner students connect academic learning with workplace learning. Finally, students learn to produce outputs directed at an audience.

Examples of organisations involved so far include HelpAge International, Regeneris, CAFOD, Save the Children UK, Y-Care International, YMCA SL, Just Space, Islamic Relief, ICF International, Tearfund, Kota Kita, Habitat International Coalition, and Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre. Amongst the UCL research projects which have hosted fellowships, there are Urban Africa Risk Knowledge, Reducing Relocation Risks, and Urbanisation Research Nigeria. While most of these fellowships take place in London, some students received funding to travel to Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Lebanon for the fellowships, and in other cases, they worked remotely with partners in countries such as Indonesia, Myanmar or Sierra Leone.
The interactions with partners and research projects have been a great preparation for professional life. Comments from students are overwhelming positive. For example, the programme led to direct employment by the partners in some cases, helped a student developing her PhD proposal and winning a scholarship, or in one case it helped the student moving to a more senior position within the organization where the she was already working. The gains were not just in terms of employment, students strongly valued the relationship with partners, the negotiation of the research and the idea of doing a dissertation that was useful to an organisation.
Andrea was also awarded the status of Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. This fellowship was obtained through the UCL Arena, a programme focusing on advancing research-based education at UCL open to all staff, who teach or support students' learning.