UCL is committed to working with and for local communities. We're using our position in one of the world’s most dynamic cities to benefit London, the UK and the wider world.
At UCL Innovation & Enterprise, our focus is on developing partnerships and effective knowledge exchange. We link the specialist skills and talents of our academics, staff and students to a whole raft of organisations working across the capital.
Our partners range from London leadership bodies – including the Mayor’s Office and local councils – to businesses, schools, charities and startups. Our activities cover an equally broad remit, from providing input to strategic discussions about the future development of the city, to supporting individual projects designed to benefit particular communities.
The impact of our work can be felt not only in our core districts of Bloomsbury, King’s Cross and Stratford (areas where UCL has an especially strong presence), but across the city, nationally and even internationally.
Working with Camden Council, the Mayor’s office, the GLA and other London-based leadership bodies
We have strong relationships with Camden Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and other London-based leadership bodies. We help connect UCL academic insight with the needs of our local communities across a wide range of areas, from volunteering to open spaces, and from homelessness to spatial planning.
Dr Celia Caulcott, UCL’s Vice-Provost for Enterprise and London, sits on both the Mayor of London’s Local Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) and the Confederation of British Industry’s London Council. This provides a voice for UCL and higher education, and helps the Mayor, the GLA and London’s businesses to access UCL’s skills, resources and talents.
The UCL Homelessness Project, a student-led volunteering initiative, has been exploring opportunities to open a ‘pop up’ temporary shelter on university owned property. It's working with local agencies to support low risk individuals who have recently been made homeless. Accommodation has been secured through UCL’s partnership with Urban Partners for King's Cross, Euston and St Pancras. The project has secured a strategic partner in Housing Justice, who will undertake the management of the shelter, while UCL provides student and staff volunteers.
Nurturing startups and spinouts
We’re cultivating the development of our startups and spinouts, most of which are based in London.
For example, a Camden-based startup founded by a UCL student is currently helping young Londoners from low income backgrounds connect with scientific researchers. The non-profit organisation in2scienceUK is the brainchild of Neuroscience PhD student Rebecca McKelvey, who founded it with support from Innovation & Enterprise. More than 1,000 young people have already benefited from getting involved.
Building relationships with London businesses
We’re developing relationships with London businesses. This means identifying those major London businesses that are logical partners for UCL in terms of research, innovation and global engagement, and developing appropriate interactions.
We're currently supporting five Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with London businesses. These span important sectors such as energy, legal services, education technology and urban connectivity.
Engaging with Londoners
We’re working closely with local communities on various initiatives around health and wellbeing. For example, we worked with Professor of Geographic Science Muki Haklay to organise a Clean Air Design Day in Camden. This brought together local residents’ groups, schools, hospitals, businesses, construction companies, councillors and cab drivers. They're working together to co-design a new action plan for the borough.
Embedding innovation and enterprise at UCL East
We’re working with colleagues to establish innovation and enterprise within the UCL East academic programme, developing entrepreneurship programmes and incubation facilities. Together with E20 partners, we’re also developing programmes to support SMEs in Stratford and surrounding areas.
We worked with Hackney Council, Tower Hamlets Council and a range of local creative and community partners to support the Hackney Wick and Fish Island Creative Enterprise Zone bid. This was submitted to the Mayor of London in Summer 2018.
We also facilitated two one-day ‘contact events’ to introduce a new network of dance artists, developers, technologists and commercial organisations based at Here East to academics across UCL. This included The Bartlett, The Slade, Computer Science, Anthropology and Neuroscience.
Demonstrating UCL’s impact as London’s global university
With partners across UCL, we’re demonstrating the impact of UCL as London’s global university.
For example, the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI), a collaboration of several institutions, is hosted by UCL Computer Science on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It’s set to become the leading place to research, study, practice and share disability innovation, globally. The hub recently won £10 million in government funding after receiving advice and support from Innovation & Enterprise.