UCL Grand Challenges


UCL-Lancet Lecture 2021: Lessons from the Pandemic for Science and Public Health

09 June 2021, 9:30 am–11:00 am

An image of the Lancet Lecture information  - title with Grand Challenge, Lancet, and Institute for Global health logos

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation, will join us to present insights from the Covid-19 pandemic and lessons for the future of global health.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Nina Quach

Jointly hosted by UCL Grand Challenges, UCL Institute for Global Health, and The Lancet, this online lecture will present key learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world continues to face this global health crisis. Dr Swaminathan will share insights on the international response to the pandemic and discuss the role of science in global decision making.

09:30 - Welcome and introduction

09:40 - Keynote lecture (Dr Swaminathan)

10:10 - Response (Prof Alison Rodger, Professor of Infectious Diseases, UCL)

10:25 - Panel discussion and Q&A (Dr Swaminathan, Prof Rodger, and Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, incoming Dean of UCL Population Health Sciences) - chaired by Dr Richard Horton (Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet)

10:55 - Closing remarks (Prof Abubakar)

11:00 - End

Joining instructions will be provided in advance of the event. Live captions will be available.

Picture of Dr Swaminathan

Dr Soumya Swaminathan was appointed WHO’s first Chief Scientist in March 2019. A paediatrician from India and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes. Dr Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017. In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy making, building research capacity in Indian medical schools and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva.

The Science division’s role is to ensure that WHO stays ahead of the curve and leverages advances in science and technology for public health and clinical care, as well as ensuring that the norms, standards and guidelines produced by WHO are scientifically excellent, relevant and timely. Her vision is to ensure that WHO is at the cutting edge of science and is able to translate new knowledge into meaningful impact on population health worldwide.