Brain Sciences


Neil Roberts

Photo of Neil, standing in front of a fence, slightly smiling.

How long have you been at UCL and what is your current role?

I’m the Faculty Learning Technology Lead (FLTL) for Brain Sciences, a new role created last year initially to support the online ‘pivot’ but as with all the other FLTL roles across the University is now more fully established to lend digital education support across the faculty.

I’ve been working at UCL since 2003 (!) - starting off at the Institute of Laryngology and Otology as it was known then, it is now the Ear Institute. I answered a job advert for an ‘AV Technician’ to support teaching and among the many tasks undertaken over several years I specialised in filming and producing head and neck surgery footage for trainee surgeons. I was told I was the only person interviewed who didn’t go wobbly at the knees when they showed examples of what I would have to film.

What working achievements are you most proud of?

There are lots of things at the Ear Institute that I’ve been proud to have been a key part of. One such example is setting up and producing a free Audiology ‘Taster Course’ with input from several academics that now has over 1200 participants from across the world; there is still interest in it and participant numbers still continue to grow. Another example is applying templates to all of the EI’s Moodle modules, to allow for a consistent and accessible student experience - I think we were the first department in the faculty to achieve this 

What is your favourite album, film, and novel?

Films: I tell people it’s Kes but really it’s probably John Carpenter’s version of The Thing.

Music: Apologies for being greedy here: I don’t think I can survive without a regular dose of Talking Heads Remain in Light (the first side at least) and New Order's Substance. Also everything The Smiths recorded and the first six Go-Betweens albums.

Books: For me it doesn’t get better than Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

What do you like best about working in the Faculty of Brain Sciences?

In Brain Sciences I like the fact that we are very proud of our strong education remit. I also love knowing that if I have an idea that is of merit, I feel I’ll be supported in setting up the various pieces and delivering on it. There is tremendous collegiality in reaching out across departments and making connections so it’s great to be part of a faculty that supports each other!

What are your future goals?

I’m looking forward to implementing parts of the Faculty Education Strategy that I’ve been involved with around digital education and Connnected Learning. Linked to this I’m excited to see how some of the positive steps taken in shifting to online learning in the past 18 months can be refined and built upon for future years and how I can help be a part of that. Outside of work if I could just nail the Bb chord on my ukulele it would be amazing.