UCL Engineering


Arista Institute

Arista Institute: Harnessing the power of creative interdisciplinary thinking to solve complex global challenges


Founded in 2022, the Arista Institute is a collaboration between the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The Institute is directed by Prof Maurice Biriotti and Prof Ruth Morgan.

We address persistent, complex, dynamic challenges using creative interdisciplinary thinking. We make connections across disciplines and with industry, government, and the third sector. We find unconventional intersections and reimagine environmentally and economically sustainable solutions.

Finding solutions to large scale complex issues requires innovative interdisciplinary thinking. There is a wealth of knowledge across the disciplines, yet deep challenges exist when it comes to leveraging that breadth and depth of insight at the speed that is needed.  We see opportunities for different ways of thinking and working.  We are driven by the big questions that confront society. We seek to find ways to synthesise and interpret, and to produce novel insight that connects meaningfully with the world and has real impact.  We do this at a pace that reflects the dynamic and evolving nature of challenges, technologies and society.

The Arista Institute is named after Aristaeus, the Greek god of beekeeping. As bees collect nectar, we engage with different forms of insight and diverse perspectives to be cross-pollinators across disciplines and sectors. As bees are critical to thriving ecosystems, the Arista Institute seeks to be an agent and catalyst for holistic problem-solving.  The Institute also fosters opportunities for transformation. Just as honeybees make pollen into honey, we transform lateral interdisciplinary thinking into innovation with impact.

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At Arista our goal is to pioneer world-class interdisciplinary research that accelerates meaningful impact and sustainable, innovative solutions to complex global challenges.

Our interdisciplinary research brings together insights from across Engineering, Science, Social Science, Arts and Humanities.  To achieve innovation, we are curious, open-minded, lateral thinkers. We experiment with methods. We employ alternative approaches to conversation, collaboration, and models of funding research.

All our projects take a critical forensic approach and foster wide-ranging engagement with both the technology and people at the heart of a challenge. At the Arista Institute, whatever the challenge, whether it be frontier AI, the circular economy, the impact of digital intelligence in the justice system, we find the intersections of disciplinary insights, ask questions to find new ways of addressing the challenge, and discover opportunities for holistic, sustainable solutions.


Prof Maurice Biriotti, Co-Director 
Prof Ruth Morgan, Co-Director 
Dr Emma Levin, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow  
Christina Ballinger, Research Assistant