UCL News


UCL experts feeding into national conversation at party conferences

13 October 2023

UCL academics and senior leadership attended the Conservative and Labour party conferences this month, meeting with senior politicians, advisers and high-profile journalists.

Ed Miliband speaking at the Imagine a Britain Reception with UCL branding

Professor Geraint Rees (UCL Vice-Provost, Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) and Kirsty Walker (UCL Vice-President, External Engagement) attended both Conservative and Labour Party Conferences and met with Ministers including the Education Secretary, Health Secretary, and Foreign Secretary as well as other Ministers, Shadow Secretaries, and the Mayor of London.

For the first time, the UCL Policy Lab ran a series of events at both the Conservative and Labour party conferences.

At the Conservative conference, their events showcased UCL expertise on topics including immigration, culture wars, and science and innovation. The latter was attended by Professor Geraint Rees alongside the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and a former Higher Education Minister.

Professor Rees highlighted that: "Universities are incredible innovators adding billions of pounds to the UK economy with UCL alone creating £9.9 billion of social and economic impact every year. Research intensive universities across the country build commercial partnerships that bring together a wide range of disciplines to develop innovations that benefit society. We must foster and invest in these to realise the full potential of the UK as a global science superpower."

At the Labour conference, UCL Policy Lab events showcased UCL expertise on economic growth, public spending, and trust in institutions. Accompanying the latter was new research co-authored by Professor Marc Stears (UCL Political Science) on how the public view our institutions, underlining the need to prioritise respect for ordinary people, a theme strongly reflected in Sir Keir Starmer’s conference speech.*

Professor Geraint Rees appeared on a panel alongside the Shadow Minister for Employment and UCL alumna Alison McGovern, to talk about the role of universities in creating regional growth across the UK. Professor Rees commented: “Addressing regional inequality should harness the expertise of research-intensive universities like UCL in every part of the UK. They create innovative spinouts and student start-ups that boost local economies and employment and create world leading businesses.”

Additionally at the Conservative conference, the Technology Secretary announced that Professor Alice Sullivan (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education & Society) will lead a review on the use of sex and gender questions in scientific research and statistics.

Professor Lindsey MacMillan (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education & Society), Director of the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, also attended the Labour conference, where she spoke on an expert panel with the Shadow Education Secretary about using education to tackle inequality.

The UCL Policy Lab also hosted a high profile ‘Imagine a Britain’ reception at the Tate Liverpool, in partnership with This Day foundation, at which the Shadow Secretary of States for Energy Security and Net Zero and for Justice spoke.



  • Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, speaking at the ‘Imagine a Britain’ reception