Covid-19 Research


Our response and strengths

UCL is uniquely placed to respond, not only to the current crisis, but to develop informed solutions for the future.

Impact in action 

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 disease in December 2019, UCL’s efforts have been focused on applying the depth and breadth of our world-leading research expertise and interdisciplinary culture to help humanity recover from this global crisis.  

Research and response

Our experts have been involved in all aspects of the challenge, urgently researching new ways of tackling the virus including improved treatments, vaccine development, rapid testing and tracking systems and addressing the economic, social and environmental impacts of COVID-19. Over a hundred projects are already underway and more will be supported through the UCL Coronavirus Response Fund.  

Working beyond UCL

We are working closely with our NHS partner hospitals and three NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, universities and research institutes and many commercial partners across the world to tackle this crisis. We have released clinical academic staff so that they can use their skills to treat and tend to those suffering with COVID-19. Other researchers are taking a prominent role advising global leaders and providing expert comment in the media. 

A global outlook

UCL moved at pace to help alleviate suffering, improve healthcare and focus on future recovery needs of patients, the public and our economy. COVID-19 continues to present an extraordinarily complex challenge to our global society.  

As London’s global university, the interdisciplinary breadth of UCL’s research and expertise means that we are uniquely placed to respond not only to the current crisis but to develop informed solutions for the future. At UCL, we address these challenges by working with world-leading experts, through disruptive thinking that challenges orthodoxy and conventional wisdom, offering a rich culture of collaboration across disciplinary borders and beyond, and harnessing our research to advance and enrich society.

What makes UCL different?

COVID-19 poses unprecedented problems to which humanity must respond to quickly. UCL has a distinct culture and approach that underpins our contributions to that response: 

Disruptive thinking since 1826 

Inspired by the utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, our radical founders committed our university to innovation, accessibility and relevance. Almost two centuries later, that commitment remains at the heart of our discovery, analysis and invention.  

Interdisciplinary approach  

We have tremendous research power to call on, that spans professional disciplines such as law, education, medicine, engineering and the built environment. We are world-leaders in cross-disciplinary fields such as neuroscience, computer science, area studies and quantitative social sciences, as well as in many disciplines across the arts, humanities and the sciences.  

We are proud that many in our research community are already making significant direct contributions. In the future after the pandemic, even more disciplines will be required. Our new UCL Grand Challenges COVID-19 initiative seeks to mobilise these expertise, skills, ideas and capacity to contribute. 

Intellectual powerhouse 

We have a history of academic excellence and are consistently ranked amongst the world’s top universities, with many of our institutes and schools leading their field. We are a global powerhouse of research, with almost 7,000 academic and research staff, and 6,000 postgraduate research students. According to the most recent Research Excellence Framework, we are the strongest UK university in terms of the quality and volume of research, research environment and research impact.     

Collaboration and partnerships driven by purpose and passion

We pride ourselves on sharing a collective purpose, and are uncommonly willing and able to work together in a spirit of collaboration, mutual respect and trust. We partner with our world-class NHS hospitals and with other collaborators, such as businesses, non-governmental organisations and policymaking bodies. Together, our collective efforts become greater than the sum of their parts.   

Adapting to a 'new normal'  

We remain agile, both intellectually and institutionally, with strategic planning that enables our research teams to respond rapidly and imaginatively to emerging priorities and initiatives.  

London’s global university

We value our home in the heart of a global capital and embrace our obligation to identify, analyse and address national and international challenges. We seek to benefit the people of London and the UK, but our global perspective recognises and reflects the interconnectedness and interdependence of people throughout the world.