UCL Global


Strengthening links through inaugural UCL India Summer School

23 June 2024

UCL connected with Indian students, alumni and partners during a week of activities including the launch of our first ever India Summer School.

UCL and The British School New Delhi staff with students at UCL's inaugural India Summer School

From 10-14 June, Indian pre-university students got a taste of what it's like to study at a world-leading UK university during the inaugural UCL India Summer School. Based at the cutting-edge campus of The British School New Delhi, leading UCL professors ran research-led teaching sessions for small groups of prospective students from across the country on a range of interdisciplinary topics.

The same week, more than 100 members of UCL’s alumni community came together at receptions in Mumbai and New Delhi, renewing relationships, growing their networks and sharing ideas for UCL’s upcoming bicentennial celebrations.

UCL Senior Leadership Professor Geraint Rees (Vice-Provost, Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) and Kirsty Walker (Vice-President, External Engagement) also connected with longstanding partners and supporters, including the British High Commissioner to India.

Celebrating the Summer School

At the Summer School, study pathways on a range of topics were delivered by Dr Michael Collins (UCL History), Professor Priti Parikh (UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment), Professor Daniel Richardson (UCL Brain Sciences), Professor John Hurst (UCL Medical Sciences), Dr Tim Beasley-Murray (UCL Arts & Humanities), Dr Manzur Rashid and Nidhi Chaudhary (both UCL Engineering). These included:

  • Psychology and the Human Brain
  • Medical Sciences and Artificial Intelligence
  • Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Management, Business and Law
  • Climate Change and Cities of the Future
  • Public Policy in Science, Engineering and Technology 

UCL alumni Anika Dhawan, Akshat Khandelwal and Mandeep Singh chatted to participants about their experiences of studying in London, applying to universities and forging careers after graduation. Current undergraduates also took part, including third year student Adya Chetiya from Delhi, who live-streamed from UCL’s Bloomsbury campus for a virtual tour and Q&A.

Alison Barrett MBE, Country Director for the British Council in India, and Vishu Sharma, Senior Project Manager - Higher Education, British Council also addressed the students as part of the programme. At the end of the week, participants enjoyed a high tea and certificate presentation with Professor Geraint Rees and Kirsty Walker.

Dr Michael Collins, who oversaw development and delivery of the Summer School, said: "India is a remarkable country. It was an absolute privilege to work on the Summer School curriculum design and planning, and then lead the teaching team in Delhi, seeing the whole thing come to life. As is so often the case, it was the people that made the difference: UCL leaders' willingness to explore new ideas, inspirational UCL professors, unyielding energy from the Indian students, and a consummately professional local partner in the form of The British School New Delhi."

Kirsty Walker, Vice-President (External Engagement) said: "UCL has a fantastic global community of staff, alumni and students and we were delighted to give pre-university students from across India a taste of what it's like to study with us this week. I hope to welcome many on campus soon."

Vanita Uppal OBE, Director, The British School New Delhi, said: "A shared vision of making exceptional, multidisciplinary learning opportunities available to students from across the country makes the partnership between The British School New Delhi and the UCL India Summer School truly special. Our shared values of nurturing global citizens who are compassionate and principled critical thinkers came to fruition over the five-day inaugural UCL Summer School here at The British School New Delhi. Witnessing the learner outcomes and their engagement, this is a story with a sequel for sure!"

Reconnecting with alumni and partners

Senior leadership enjoyed meetings with Indian partners, including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore to discuss plans to support India’s healthcare sector, focusing on medical technology, big data, and clinician-scientist training.

In New Delhi, Kirsty Walker and Geraint Rees met with the British High Commissioner to India, Lindy Cameron; First Secretary Science and Deputy Head of the India Science Tech and Innovation Network, Jack Landers; and Country Director for the British Council in India, Alison Barrett MBE. They explored opportunities for future collaboration, underscoring the mutual commitment to enhancing educational and research ties between the UK and India. 

At the alumni receptions, guests heard speeches from Professor Geraint Rees, Kirsty Walker and Dr Michael Collins, who spoke about his research into Indo-British relations and UCL’s relationship with the country.

The Summer School marks UCL's ongoing commitment to collaborating with India. Later this year, the first recipients of the UCL India Excellence Scholarships will arrive on campus. The scheme aims to support Indian students with an outstanding academic record to pursue full-time Master's degree studies at UCL.
UCL has a thriving community of nearly 1,000 Indian students and more than 3,000 alumni in India. Udit Singhal, an alum of both UCL and The British School New Delhi, was recently featured on Forbes India’s 30 Under 30 list, recognised for pioneering an innovative and environmentally friendly technology that converts used glass bottles into sand through his company Glass2Sand.



  • Featured image: Vice-President (External Engagement) Kirsty Walker, Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) Professor Geraint Rees, Dr Michael Collins and UCL colleagues with Director of The British School New Delhi, Vanita Uppal OBE, and students at the inaugural India Summer School.