UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Queen Square Alumnus Association newsletter Issue 16

Welcome to the sixteenth edition of the Alumnus Association newsletter.

There have been many recent significant Institute achievements, some attracting major media attention. Here are some of the highlights:

The last few months have been comprised of many important developments for the Institute. We are delighted with the very important appointments of our Deputy Directors, who together with the Heads of Research Department and Executive Committee, will work alongside us both to help shape and implement the IoN Strategy. To that end, we have held our first IoN PI Science Away Day on the 19th October 2021 to discuss our scientific synergies and priorities for the next 5 years; engagement was excellent, over 90% PIs in attendance.

We held two successful all IoN staff meetings during which the Deputy Directors presented and discussed their strategic plans and gathered very important feedback and questions from our staff. These first two meetings were focused on: Communications & Partnerships, Professor Selina Wray; Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change, Professor Sanjay Sisodiya; EDI, Professor Helene Plun-Favreau; Education and Student Experience, Professor Alex Leff. These meetings were very useful and well attended, and we plan to hold more townhall meetings, in the new year.
Our Executive away day on the 13th December further discussed our strategic plan and focused on key cross-cutting strategic areas for the Institute, namely: Education and Student experience; EDI (including culture and well-being); Supporting people-including ECR; Climate Change and Sustainability; Communications and Partnerships; IoN/DRI GIR Dual Hub; Translation, Enterprise and Genetic Therapies; Update from IoN Clinical Divisions.

The discussions, actions and findings from both of those away days will feed into our final IoN strategic and operational plan, which will be aligned with the Faculty’s strategic plan, which we are also feeding into. In so doing, we will be in a strong position to feed into the new UCL Strategy, currently being developed; We encourage everyone to engage with this process by visiting the dedicated site where the draft UCL strategic papers have been uploaded. Members of the UCL community can provide feedback through the consultation site. Non-members should email consultation@ucl.ac.uk.

We were delighted to formally welcome the new President and Provost, Dr Michael Spence, at our Annual Address this year. The annual address celebrated our numerous achievements, of both staff and students, with a review of the year by Professor Michael Hanna, our Director of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, followed by the Annual Address delivered by UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael J Spence AC and with the Vote of Thanks delivered by our Institute Manager, Dr Helene Crutzen. If you missed it you can watch the recording here

We continue the planning and building of our new centre of excellence for UCL Neuroscience at 256 Gray’s Inn Road. This will form part of a ‘dual hub’, supporting our existing laboratories and clinical activity at Queen Square. We held our new building Ground-breaking ceremony in May this year, and are now planning the Bottoming-out ceremony for early in the new year: we will reach the lowest excavation point in mid-February 2022 and hope to mark this important milestone. At the moment, subject to the evolution of the pandemic, we are hoping to use this event to help highlight our philanthropic need to support this very important capital project, and also focus more on the science that will be undertaken on the site rather than the construction itself. 

In this edition of the newsletter our interview is with Ms Elizabeth Brockman. We have news from the National Brain Appeal, from the Institute and updates from the archives are also included. We would like to highlight that our archives hold extensive material from the past 150 years.

I would like to highlight that old editions of the Queen Square Alumnus Association newsletter produced by Miss Pat Harris, are available in PDF format on the Queen Square Alumni website https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ion/education/alumnusassociation/archivenewsletters. I would also like to draw your attention to the work in progress that is the Institute of Neurology History pages as well as highlighting the new official history of Queen Square.  Alsong with the mini biographies for notable former staff in the history of Queen Square using for the main, the Queen Square: A History of the National Hospital and its Institute of Neurology book we have also started to add information on notable Alumni. As always suggestions are very welcome. Queen Square: A History of the National Hospital and its Institute of Neurology, a definitive history of both The National Hospital and the Institute from 1860 to 1997. Full price now £49 (previously £59.99) The National Brain appeal are delighted to be able to offer a new discounted rate of £44 for staff and alumni at NHNN and the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. To claim this discount, please email info@nationalbrainappeal.org.

I would like to thank the following people, without whom this edition of the newsletter would not have been possible; Ms Elizabeth Brockman for her interview; Mrs Marilyn Blundred for her attention to detail in proof reading this edition; Ms Sarah Lawson and Mr George Kaim for Queen Square Library and Archive material, and the Queen Square Library for photographs used in this edition.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of the Queen Square Alumnus Association newsletter.