Brain Sciences


Celebrating UCL's REF 2021 results through our fantastic contributions to London

16 June 2022

Written by Professor Alan Thompson, Pro-Provost (London) and Dean, Faculty of Brain Sciences

Professor Alan Thompson


On 18 May we welcomed 550 students, staff and Co-Principal Robin Street from the UCL Academy to the UCL campus for tours and talks. Professor Anthony Smith (Vice Provost, Faculties) and myself gave a lunchtime talk to the students, with the visit carefully coordinated across many UCL teams including VP Education and Student Experience, VP External Engagement and the London Office.

With particular thanks to UCL's student ambassadors who were excellent and gave such insightful tours to all the UCL Academy students. The UCL Academy has produced this short animation of the visit, and we look forward to welcoming the school and students again next year! 

On 26 May UCL held its Professional Services Conference where along with Professor Paola Lettieri, Pro-Provost (UCL East), we were delighted to give our thanks to all the UCL professional services staff who contribute and support the university's activity in such a crucial way. You can watch the video here.

Also, many congratulations to Paola on becoming Pro Provost (UCL East) in May, the first Pro-Provost of UCL East, in recognition of her leadership of UCL East which will open this autumn. We look forward to continuing our close relationship with the UCL East office.

Finally, we have been delighted to help support UCL Public Policy and Camden Council in organising virtual ‘Policy Visits’ taking place in July. The visits led by UCL Public Policy, and funded through UCL’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award, aim to provide an opportunity for local authority stakeholders to meet UCL staff and faculty members and engage in 1:1 conversation with researchers. The sessions will include a Knowledge Exchange Seminar to hear from both UCL and Camden about our partnership and to find out more about Camden’s policy priorities and current challenges; for UCL staff interested in attending please contact us.


UCL has again been ranked among the top 10 universities in the world according to the 2023 QS World University Rankings. The university secured eighth position for the second year in a row, rising from tenth place in 2021. More here.


The new UCL Policy Lab will transform debates on key policy issues through radical innovation and collaboration. The Lab's inaugural Director, Professor Marc Stears (UCL Political Science) will bring together researchers from across UCL to collaborate with partners to address today's global challenges. We look forward to working with the Lab as it progresses, particularly drawing in the policy challenges we often find in London. More here.


UCL has launched its first ever walking tour tour of campus, giving the general public a chance to explore our rich and radical history over two centuries while visiting key sites on campus. The free tour, delivered by student ambassadors, will run weekly on Fridays from 12:30 to 13:30, starting from 24 June. Contact us to find out more.


In this month's feature we celebrate UCL's REF results, coming first in London and second in the UK for research power by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted.  For this, 93 per cent of our research was graded 4* ‘world leading’ and 3* ‘internationally excellent’. Our research received a 'grade point average' of 3.50 (out of 4) – an improvement from 3.22 in 2014. A total of 3,432 UCL academics submitted to this REF process.

UCL shared 194 impact case studies as part of evidence submitted, showcasing diverse impact across every faculty of the university. 25 of those case studies focussed on London directly, and today UCL launches the London theme of research impact as well as podcast for 'Diversity Matters'.

A new podcast episode released today focussing on Professor Jessica Ringrose's (IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education & Society) research, explores how media and technology can be harnessed for positive change, documenting how women and girls fight back online against sexism and create new messages of change that can spread via social media.

In 2018, in response to public outrage at sexist imagery in public advertising, Transport for London (TfL) commissioned Professor Ringrose to explore diverse women and girls' experiences of advertising in London. Read more about the research here.

Other London case studies submitted to REF included this research on protecting rough sleepers during the pandemic. Working with NHS England, Public Health England and the Greater London Authority (GLA). research carried out by Professor Andrew Hayward and Dr Al Story at the UCL Collaborative Centre for Inclusion Health (CCIH) has shown that homeless people are sadly eight to 12 times more likely than the general population to die prematurely, particularly from chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. More here.

This research by colleagues at UCL's Bartlett's Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE) looked at improving air quality in schools through better building design. In the 'Ventilation in Schools' project, let by Professor Dejan Mumovic, research showed that national ventilation systems can provide a cost-effective alternative to mechanical ventilation whilst maintaining air quality in schools. Professor Mumovic was later commissioned by the Mayor of London's Office to investigate air pollution in London’s schools, resulting in the report ‘Indoor Air Quality in London’s Schools’; an audit of indoor school air pollution across London’. This report was published through the Mayor’s Office and accompanied by a £1 million fund to help the worst affected schools in London. Read more here.

All 25 of the London case studies can be found on the UCL website, here. 

Listen to the Diversity Matters podcast.


UCL to publish findings of its London Economics Report

On 27 June a report by London Economics on the economic and social impact of UCL will be published. London Economics were commissioned by UCL to undertake an analysis of  UCL’s activities in the 2018-19 academic year. The report looked at UCL’s research and knowledge exchange, teaching and learning, educational exports, expenditure and social and cultural activities. It quantifies the large contribution and high value for money of UCL’s activities across the UK and in London. It also brings to life, through case studies, stories from across UCL that demonstrate our contribution to our local communities. The report will be shared next week. If you would like to receive the report and are not currently on our mailing list, please contact Amy Lightstone.