UCL News


Spotlight on Ben Webb

29 October 2014

This week the spotlight is on Ben Webb, Constitution Unit Administrator, UCL Political Science.

Ben Webb

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am responsible for the administration of the UCL Constitution Unit which is an independent and non-partisan research centre based in UCL Political Science. I am also a part of the excellent professional services team within the department. I support a range of areas including events management, communications, press management, website maintenance, HR and finance and provide PA support to the director of the Constitution Unit. Also, I support the department in HR and budget development for research and provide post-award support… so a jack of all trades.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL since 2009, with an 8 month gap for some travelling in 2010. I have been at the Department of Political Science for 2 years, but previous to this I was an Administrator at the Cancer Institute and the Wolfson Institute at UCL where I provided administrative support for grant applications and all staffing issues to all academic and research staff, within a large and very efficient professional services team.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Slightly deviating from the the question, but something I am extremely proud of and relating to work is that a team of my colleagues and I recently ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon for Alzheimer's Society.  As Team SPP (School of Public Policy) we trained hard and ran the 13.1miles around London.  We have so far raised over £1700 for the charity and it's still increasing: www.justgiving.com/teamspp

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

Currently I am putting together the seminar series programme for 2015. The series covers all areas of the constitution and creates open debate on a range of issues. We try to keep the programme topical and interesting to generate well-informed and lively discussion between the speaker and our audience. The series draws a strong crowd which tends to be a mix of civil servants, peers and parliamentary staff, academics, journalists, students and interested members of the public.  We have broad discussions with high profile speakers as well as an exploration of more technical issues; typical subjects are House of Lords reform, devolution and Scottish independence, electoral reform and international constitutional issues. 

You can find out more about our seminar series on our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/events/public-seminars

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album - many people tell me my musical taste is very questionable, but one album I listen to over and over is Mumford and Sons, Sigh No More.

Film - it has to be Grease and preferably the sing-a-long version. A close second is the Shawshank Redemption.

Novel - the child in me has to say the Harry Potter series. I grew up reading these and the child inside of me is still waiting upon my Hogwarts letter.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

It's a classic but gets me every time:

'A man walks into a bar…. Ouch!'

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

  • Sir Winston Churchill
  • Queen Victoria
  • Walt Disney
  • George RR Martin
  • Meryl Streep
  • Beyoncé
  • A selection of my close friends

What advice would you give your younger self?

No regrets!

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I absolutely hate the movie Titanic; it gave me a fear of boats when I was little! 

What is your favourite place?

Abroad, it will always be Thailand. I have visited a couple of times and I fall in love with it more and more - it's a beautiful place to visit, the food is delicious and you can either be in the hustle and bustle of a city or on a beautiful sandy beach. 

Back in the UK, it would be Southbank, on a beautiful sunny afternoon. I love walking along, finding a nice restaurant or pub with some friends and enjoying the view. Every time you go, there is something different and new going on.