UCL News


UCL and Abbey sign cooperation agreement

5 March 2007

UCL (University College London) and Abbey, part of the Santander Group, have today signed a three-year cooperation agreement within the Santander Universities programme.

The programme already supports 550 universities in Spain, Latin America, Portugal and the UK. This agreement will provide international scholarships for UCL, extra-curricular awards, assistance in networking and project cooperation, and support in introducing smart card technology.

Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost of UCL, and António Horta-Osório, Chief Executive of Abbey, signed the agreement in the company of Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost of UCL, Abbey Chairman Lord Burns, Keith Morgan, Abbey Strategy and Planning Director and Luis Juste, Director of Santander Universities for UK, Latin America and Portugal.

The agreement with UCL contains three important elements:

  • Support for three kinds of scholarships and awards: Awards to students for extra-curricular achievement; international scholarships for post-graduate students from countries in the Santander Universities scheme -Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Spain and Portugal - to study at UCL; and international scholarships for students of UCL and/or staff to study or research in one of the ten countries within Santander's network.
  • Support in the introduction of smart cards for the UCL's community of 27,000 staff and students.
  • Linking the University with universities, government and academic institutions where Abbey is able to be of assistance, using the Santander Universities network.

Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost of UCL, said:

"The concept of education for global citizenship and leadership has been a key element of strategic thinking at UCL for several years now. By focusing on global citizenship, we are emphasising an important aspect of our institutional culture that has often been under-emphasised as compared to our reputation for research and teaching excellence."

"Our partnership with Abbey and Santander is particularly important to us and marks the beginning of what will be, I am sure, a long-term and fruitful partnership, whereby we can attract bright students from the Iberian peninsula and Latin American companies to come and study at UCL and also encourage UCL students to study in those regions. The Abbey and Santander Scholarships will be enormously important in taking forward several other key UCL aims, and for UCL to be a member of the Santander Universities network will enable us to establish and take forward a variety of invaluable teaching and research initiatives on a global scale."

Abbey's Chief Executive, António Horta-Osório, said:

"We are delighted to sign this agreement with UCL. Santander and Abbey share a single objective with the university sector: to contribute towards the development and prosperity of society. By working with a world-class university like UCL we will take another step forward in achieving this objective."

- Ends -

About University College London

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. In the government's most recent Research Assessment Exercise, 59 UCL departments achieved top ratings of 5* and 5, indicating research quality of international excellence.  

UCL is the fourth-ranked UK university in the 2006 league table of the top 500 world universities produced by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. UCL alumni include Mahatma Gandhi, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf, Alexander Graham Bell, and members of the band Coldplay.

Santander Universities

Santander Universities, pioneered by Santander, one of the largest financial groups in the world, is a scheme which establishes various spheres of collaboration including teaching and research, international cooperation, transfer of knowledge and technology, and new technologies, among others.

Over the last ten years, Santander Universities programme has been the keystone of the Group's Corporate Social Responsibility policies. In 2006, Santander assigned €76 million to this programme.

Since 1996, Santander has signed co-operation agreements with almost 550 universities in Spain, America, Portugal and the UK, representing a community of eight million university students.

Santander gives more support to the university community than any other bank in the world, with initiatives such as:

o Granting over 10,000 scholarships each year to promote study, research and initial professional work experience;

o 380 technological innovation initiatives;

o Aid to 2,000 research groups and direct financing of 40 scientific research and humanities projects;

o Nine science and technology parks in three countries;

o 17 corporate incubation projects in five different countries;

o Santander has issued 2.5 million university smart cards in 195 universities, with a high level of functional and financial features for teachers and students;

o Supporting Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library (www.cervantesvirtual.com), the largest of its kind for Hispanic works. Its website in Spanish is the most visited in the world (more than 375 million pages in 1999-2006);

o Supporting Universia (www.universia.net), the biggest university co-operation network in existence, now encompassing over 985 universities.