UCL London


Reflecting on London Office activities in 2021, whilst looking forward to 2022

Written by Professor Alan Thompson, Pro-Provost (London) and Dean, Faculty of Brain Sciences

2 december 2021, issue 19

Alan Thompson

As we approach the end of term and my final update of 2021, I wanted to write an overview of what has been an extremely busy period in the London Office. As is always the case for Term 1, we hit the ground running in September and saw a significant increase in activity. 

This term has seen us: (i) expand our team and welcome Sarah Beech as Project Officer for London, (ii) launch two all-staff surveys relating to placements and volunteering in London, (iii) commission research relating to perceptions of UCL in London, (iv) enhance our engagement with multiple stakeholders across London and (v) contribute to various areas of London activity including consultations and research bids, all whilst brokering multiple connections across UCL.

Additionally, I was delighted to expand my role to become Pro-Provost (London) in September, reflecting our move centrally to the Office of the President & Provost, UCL.

We have been continuing to actively enhance our engagement with our core stakeholders and partners and I am thrilled to have met with so many London organisation leads this term. It was fantastic to meet with John Dickie (London First), Jeremy Skinner (GLA) and Nick Bowes (Centre for London) amongst others this term, as well as attend the CBI and Centre for London annual conferences. 

A highlight of our activity included the recent summit event we hosted for Camden Council at our BaseKX site on 24 November. Welcoming partners from over 60 local organisations in Camden was a great pleasure and it was a wonderful event for Camden Council. In just a couple of weeks our MoU with Camden Council will be one-year old! We have made considerable progress working together with Camden Council since our MoU event last December and key topics to take forward arising from our discussions include diversity, volunteering and social action. We look forward to working together over the next year and beyond on these important themes. 

Speaking of our connections with London boroughs, along with Professor Paola Lettieri, Director of UCL East, we have been working extremely closely with Newham Council as we approach the launch of UCL East in 2022. We have brokered connections with Newham on various themes, a recent example including a joint application to the NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration with UCL Health of the Public. We look forward to developing this exciting relationship in Term 2.

Together with Amy Lightstone who leads the London Office, we have thoroughly enjoyed meeting with our partners this term and developing ways in which we can work together. We’ve now completed nearly all of our key stakeholder interviews, through our research partner Deltapoll, and insight from these interviews will help to inform our office on stakeholder perceptions of UCL in London. In Term 2, we will be refreshing our London Framework to reflect the outcomes of the research and to update the Framework with important themes such as equality and diversity, and widening participation, both of which are key to our way of working in London.

I’d like to finish by thanking all of our colleagues and partners who engaged and participated in our activity this term and throughout 2021. We wish you a restful and healthy festive break – and look forward to connecting with you in 2022.

engage with us and get involved:

Staff Volunteering Survey – our current staff volunteering survey is aimed as measuring the impact UCL staff have through volunteering. We are interested in hearing from all staff, whether you volunteer or not, so that we can start to capture this data. Volunteering can include any time you spend in a professional or personal capacity giving back outside of your work at UCL. The survey takes just five minutes to complete and will remain open until 31 December.

Complete the Staff Volunteering Survey here

Student Placement Survey - we are undertaking a review of placement activity between UCL and Camden Council this term as part of our strategic way of working together. This scoping exercise will help us to understand the current level of placement activity and the processes behind these. As part of the stock take, we are looking to hear from colleagues organising or leading student placement or projects in Camden.

Complete the Student Placement Survey here

Tell us about your work in London – we want to hear from anyone working with, in and for London. As we continue to build a picture of UCL’s activity in London, we are seeking to capture all areas of activity which involve UCL colleagues and London. 

Tell us about your work in London


New Students’ Union UCL Community Volunteering Strategy 2021-2024 
UCL has a fantastic culture of student volunteering, with over 2000 students getting involved in community projects across London each year. However, there’s still a lot of untapped potential. That’s why Students’ Union UCL’s Volunteering Service has drawn up a roadmap for engaging even more UCL students in community volunteering and deepening the impact that their activities have. 

You can read the Strategy on the Volunteering Service webpages. It’s a quick read, intended as a starting point for new ideas and collaborations – to get involved or find out more, please get in touch with John Braime, Manager of the Volunteering Service.

Policy Fellowship with Newham Council: Improving participative policy making
Giving people the chance to have their say forms part of a radical overhaul of democracy in the London borough of Newham. Further improvement in how communities, universities and public services work together throughout the policy making process is required if ambitions to make Newham a happier and healthier place to live are to be achieved. This CAPE-Newham Council policy fellowship offers the opportunity for the successful candidate to work closely with Newham Council, and the CAPE consortium, as well as anchor institutions, communities in Newham and local public service or policy making networks in London. Learning from other areas and exploring the development of infrastructure to strengthen participative policy making and design, the Fellow will play a significant role in developing and strengthen capabilities beyond the borders of the borough.
Applications will close at 23:59 on Monday 6th December 2021.  More details, along with the application form can be found on the CAPE website.

Policy Dialogues Funding (EPSRC IAA)
UCL Public Policy is offering funding and support for EPSRC projects to organise and deliver 'Policy Dialogues': knowledge transfer activities and events designed to foster engagement between research and policy.  A Policy Dialogue can be a meeting/series of meetings to allow for academics, policy makers, and policy practitioners to come together to discuss current priorities and proposals for future work. These activities are meant to be multidisciplinary, wider than the UCL community, and are not just meant for knowledge transfer but to build communities to share best practice, and built on a current policy need and support by a policy partner. Up to £5,000 funding is available. More information can be found here. 

To share any London impact stories or to get in touch, please contact Amy Lightstone.

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