UCL Global


First winners of UCL-University of Toronto joint funding announced

17 November 2017

Collaborations addressing challenges in the areas of cities, child health and education are being supported by a UCL-University of Toronto (U of T) funding stream.

University of Toronto campus - Diana Tyszko

A newly launched UCL-University of Toronto (U of T) funding stream is supporting collaborations addressing challenges in the areas of cities, child health and education, among others.

Seven projects are receiving joint funding over the next two years to draw on the strengths of both institutions to deliver collaborative work that addresses global challenges.

“These are strategic new collaborations that showcase unique synergies between UCL and U of T,” said Prof. Christopher Yip, Associate Vice-President, International Partnerships at the University of Toronto. “This is only the start of what will surely be robust and strategic research partnerships between our two world-leading research universities.”

Dr. Karen Edge, UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (International) and U of T alumna, believes the new collaborative projects will provide a springboard for the two universities to work more closely together.

She said: “UCL and U of T are both world-leading universities in global cities that are deeply committed to making a difference to our local communities and global challenges. We can learn from each other’s strengths and develop new solutions. I am optimistic about what the newly funded projects will achieve.”

The funding stream builds on previous UCL and U of T activity over the past year, including a U of T delegation’s visit to The Bartlett in June for a joint workshop on affordable housing.

In January, UCL will welcome U of T President Professor Meric Gertler to discuss additional ways the two universities could work together in future. This follows a UCL delegation visit to U of T led by Vice-Provost International Dame Nicola Brewer in May this year.

Congratulations to all of the winners:

UCL PIUofT PIProject description

Daniel Durrant

(The Bartlett School of Planning)

Prof. Shoshana Saxe; Prof. Matti Siemiatycki

(Civil Engineering / Geography & Planning)

Research suggests the world is facing a $3.3 trillion per year investment gap in the provision of critical infrastructure, which is stunting economic growth and job creation and exacerbating social inequality. The joint research project Urban Infrastructure: The need for speed? will compare the implementation of infrastructure across two global cities, identifying (1) key pinch points in the planning lifecycle, and (2) trade-offs between the imperatives to build quickly and plan carefully.

Dr. Abi Fisher

(Institute of Epidemiology and Health)

Prof. Catherine Sabiston

(Kinesiology & Physical Education)

Teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer survival rates have increased, but there is a need for strategies that might reduce some of the negative side-effects of treatments. Emerging evidence shows health behaviours could play an important role, and that health behaviour intervention should become part of the TYA cancer care pathway. The Team-up collaboration is a multi-country approach to developing and testing interventions aimed at improving the health behaviours of TYA survivors of cancer in the UK and Canada.

Prof. Deborah Gill and Dr. Ahmed Rashid

(UCL Medical School)

Prof. Brian Hodges

(Psychiatry/Wilson Centre)


Both UCL Medical School and the University of Toronto Wilson Centre are extensively engaged in international medical education consultancy, knowledge transfer and health education capacity-building. This research will explore how models of engaging with international colleagues on educational projects impact on a range of outcomes. The project will draw together the expertise and experiences from both institutions, producing meaningful scholarly outputs in the field of global education for health professions.

Dr. Nici Zimmermann

(UCL Energy Institute)

Prof. Marianne Touchie

(Civil Engineering / Mechanical & Industrial Engineering)

There are tens of thousands of tower block apartment buildings situated around the world, with the vast majority more than 50 years old and in need of refurbishment. They represent a significant housing resource in many urban areas across Canada and the UK. This collaborative applied research project will review international and national tower apartment building refurbishment practices to identify performance gaps.

Dr. Suellen Walker

(UCL GOS Institute of Child Health)

Dr. Massieh Moayedi



Chronic pain affects 15-20% of children and young people, with a significant impact on quality of life, ability to attend school, mood, sleep and family function, as well as representing a significant economic burden. Through sharing expertise and resources, this collaboration will investigate underlying mechanisms, compare the impact of different types of pain across a range of ages, and evaluate the most sensitive and specific outcome tools for future trials.

Prof. Bart Hoogenboom

(Department of Physics & Astronomy)

Prof. Anton Zilman

(Physics / Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering)

The biological transport process between a cell’s nucleus and cytoplasm is central for cell survival and healthy functioning, and is of major importance in combating viral infections and other diseases. This collaboration will further develop the biophysical modeling of transport into and out of the cell nucleus to address questions arising in corresponding bio-nano-technological applications.

Dr. Daisuke Kawata

(Department of Space & Climate Physics)

Prof. Jo Bovy

(Astronomy & Astrophysics)

The Milky Way is made up of 100 billion stars and trillions of dark-matter particles engaged in a complex dance driven by the force of gravity. Revealing the current structure of our galaxy, including the distribution of unknown dark matter, is a long-standing challenge in astronomy. This collaboration will use big and complex data to extend the 'made-to-measure' technique to help address this challenge.

Image: University of Toronto campus, courtesy of Diana Tyszko