UCL Global


UCL and Sweden launch pioneering collaboration in NeuroDesign and NeuroArchitecture

22 May 2024

UCL has announced a groundbreaking partnership with RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden. This collaboration explores how the human brain interacts with built environments to design sustainable surroundings that enhance health and well-being.

UCL and RISE colleagues signing the new MoU

On 16 May 2024, academics from UCL’s Faculty of Brain Sciences and The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with RISE, marking the beginning of this interdisciplinary venture. The partnership focuses on identifying risk and resilience factors in architecture and design and how these impact cognition, behaviours, and emotions to shape future living environments. 

This initiative exemplifies the bilateral innovation and research agreement between Sweden and the UK, emphasising a shared commitment to outstanding scientific research and sustainable development. It also highlights UCL's leadership in neurodesign and neuroarchitecture, reinforcing our dedication to interdisciplinary research. 

Professor Hugo Spiers, Vice-Dean for Enterprise in UCL Brain Sciences, said: “New UCL facilities for simulating real environments (e.g. UCL PEARL*) and mobile brain recording make it possible for us now to gain a much richer understanding of how the human brain is impacted and supported by the built environment. Working with RISE will enable us to connect these new research tools with innovations in implementation of health and sustainable environments, to improve human health and wellbeing.” 

Isabelle Sjövall, Neurodesigner and Brain Researcher at UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience, said: “We know that the surrounding environment significantly impacts people's mental health and quality of life to a large extent. However, more research is needed to investigate how different factors in the built environment relate to one another and affect health and wellbeing, taking a holistic perspective into consideration. Identifying specific risk- and resilience factors in architecture and design, and how these impact cognition, behaviours, and emotions, have groundbreaking potential to help shape future living environments and positive outcomes.” 

Dr Fiona Zisch from UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture emphasised that this transdisciplinary research integrates multiple fields to provide diverse and inclusive understandings of the interplay between environments and their inhabitants. 

RISE is the Swedish research institute and innovation partner for every part of society, collaborating internationally across industry, academia and the public sector.



UCL and RISE colleagues signing the new MoU.