UCL News


Provost's View: UCL 2034 and the new Campaign for UCL

5 October 2016

The most exciting thing about working at UCL is being part of a place with global vision and global ambitions, combined with the drive, desire and clout to transform that into real global impact.

Professor Michael Arthur  

UCL 2034, which we launched two years ago, one year after I joined the university, is both an articulation of what we will do and achieve over the next 20 years and a roadmap for how we will do it.

I'm delighted to share with you a UCL 2034 progress review, which provides impressive insights into the variety of work carried out this past year towards the aims of our 20-year strategy. 

The review features an array of more than 50 case studies that illustrate practical activity undertaken by staff and students right across our university over the past academic year in support of each of UCL 2034's principal themes and key enablers. 

We've created new research centres, held public festivals, developed technology for industry use and so much more besides, while strengthening our student support, estate, financial standing and many other areas.

Please take some time to look through the review, which was prepared by UCL Communications. It contains a wealth of groundbreaking ideas and approaches that you might find inspiring and relevant to your own work. 

I'm aware that there is even more going on across our community to drive us towards our strategic aims, and I thank and congratulate everyone who has demonstrated commitment to this communal endeavour.

Fuelling our ambitions

And what about the fuel that drives all that achievement and ambition? The answer is - It's All Academic.

It's All Academic because it is the academic excellence of our staff and students, supported by our superb professional services staff, that drives change and improves lives - whether that's developing effective treatments for dementia or offering free legal advice to vulnerable people in east London.

And It's All Academic because our major new Campaign for UCL will provide the extra magic ingredient that will make it happen bigger, better and faster.

Crucially, the new Campaign is fully aligned with, and informed by, UCL 2034 and focused on supporting everything that we want to be.

Philanthropy, as I've said before, is what adds excellence to our core activity - it extends the reach of what we do and enhances our confidence to be bold and take risks.

Campaign for UCL total

It's also something that we're already extremely good at and this Campaign - with its ambitious, but achievable, target of raising £600 million - must be the impetus to push us from one of the best fundraising universities in the UK to one of the best in the world.

University philanthropy is changing. In the past, popular wisdom had it that your most generous and loyal supporters would be your alumni - people who already had a strong connection with the university. 

Alumni are certainly a vital part of UCL's community and our lifelong relationship with the people who come here to study is something that we cherish very deeply.

They contribute in a multitude of ways - certainly financially, but also through volunteering, mentoring and advising current students and fellow alumni. The opportunity to be part of a unique, worldwide, lifelong community is a tremendously attractive 'added extra' of studying at UCL.

Increasingly, though, UCL is winning the support of major global philanthropists who support us not because of a prior connection but because they are inspired by what we do and trust us to steward their money well, so that it achieves exactly what they intended. 

Since 2011, UCL has raised £253 million in philanthropic funding from generous donors from 76 countries around the world - who partner with us because they know that it's the most effective way to bring about positive change in the world.

That's a source of important funding that we have to develop if we want to really get the most impact from philanthropy. 

The Campaign goes global

So that's why over the next month, we'll be going on the road to some important regions, including the USA, China and Hong Kong, to launch the Campaign worldwide and meet some of our most engaged and active alumni communities. 

Highlights of the visits will include an event for current and potential supporters in Los Angeles hosted by the great director Christopher Nolan and the equally great producer Emma Thomas - both UCL alumni who first met here as students and remain our staunch friends. 

Christopher recently told Portico, UCL's alumni magazine that "my entire life can be traced very directly to those student days". That is a tremendous thing to hear - that UCL has been a major part of shaping a successful, fulfilling, worthwhile life. 

We know that we have the ability to transform a multitude of other lives in a multitude of ways. The Campaign is a key part of releasing that potential to the fullest.

Professor Michael Arthur
President & Provost

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