UCL News


Publication of Draft Strategic Plan

31 October 2022

A message from the Provost to all staff.

Cover page of UCL's Draft Strategy Plan

Dear colleagues,

After a year of really insightful community-wide conversations about our ambitions for UCL and the route to achieving them, our Draft Strategic Plan 2022-27 is now published. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has fed in their ideas and views and has helped us to reach this stage in our thinking. I hope you will again share your feedback and help to shape the plan in this final part of the consultation and, if you can, join our Town Hall on Thursday 10 November to hear more and to give your comments.

You can also see a newly-published Consultation Report, which summarises the rich feedback received to date and indicates how it has informed either the draft plan or programmes of change and continuous improvement.

The main messages I have heard over the last year are that people are proud to work at UCL and are enthused by the huge opportunities to work with others to tackle the big challenges, but that this can be a complex place to navigate. In particular, a great deal of time is taken up in dealing with the administrative side of life at UCL, exacerbated by systems and processes that are neither easy nor intuitive. In many cases, people are working in facilities that are not great, and there are also concerns about the sustainability of our growth.

The Strategic Plan, which sits beneath our long-range strategy UCL 2034, sets out how we will address these issues and, in essence, make UCL a place where staff and students are properly supported to do their best work. It is, of course, a document addressed only to our principal institution-wide areas of focus and doesn’t attempt to capture the enormous amount of innovation and activity that will inevitably take place across the institution in departments, faculties and professional services units.

At the institutional level, by 2027, we will have:

  • created new frameworks for supporting cross-disciplinary research focused on the most pressing global challenges
  • streamlined our education offering and reduced the impact of structural complexity on the workloads of our staff and students
  • improved our administrative systems and processes so that we all spend less time on them and can instead focus more on our core jobs (pursuing a rich variety of excellent research, teaching, application and commercialisation, caring for the wellbeing of students, developing local and global partnerships, embedding a culture of philanthropy, raising the profile of UCL externally and many more activities that underpin UCL’s success)
  • shown clear progress towards an institutional culture of openness
  • delivered long-term financial resilience.

Over the year in which this consultation has taken place, we have seen dramatic changes in the external landscape, with inflation and cost of living challenges, financial and political uncertainty, and global conflict and instability. Both UCL and the people who work and study here are affected by these challenges and the years ahead will certainly be constrained by economic realities. In this environment, having a robust Strategic Plan that is clear about our institution-wide mid-term goals is more important than ever. Underpinning the plan, our new finance and estates strategies will create the headroom we need to invest in the priorities on which we have collectively agreed.

Although the headwinds are strong, UCL is in many ways in an enviable position. We are renowned for the excellence, creativity and impact of what we do, we are a highly sought-after global partner, and there is huge worldwide competition to secure a place on our courses. With a clear plan to support our academic mission and to improve our systems, processes and facilities, we can really consolidate the impressive achievements of the last 10 years and create a place where our people and our work can thrive.

Thank you for your engagement with this process to date, and for the many ways in which you work for excellence in our education and research.


Dr Michael Spence
UCL President & Provost