UCL News


Covid-19: Leading UCL academics named on SAGE

5 May 2020

A number of leading UCL academics have been named as scientific advisors on the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its related sub-groups.

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Professor Russell Viner (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), Professor Alan Penn (The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL) and Professor Susan Michie (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) have been announced as members of SAGE.

Honorary UCL academics on the list include Professor Sharon Peacock (UCL Infection & Immunity), Professor Steve Powis (UCL Medicine) and Honorary staff member Dr Demis Hassabis (UCL Computer Science).

SAGE provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies. It is responsible for pulling together the scientific research and analysis from across government, academia and industry.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, said: “At UCL, our experts are taking a prominent role in advancing public knowledge about COVID-19 by advising world leaders and urgently researching new ways of tackling the virus.

“The numbers of UCL researchers represented on SAGE and its sub-groups demonstrates the breadth of our academic excellence across many scientific disciplines and the huge number of ways that our community is mobilising to support the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

UCL academics also sit on the following SAGE sub-groups:

  • Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B): Professor Susan Michie, Professor Russell Viner, Professor Robert West (UCL Behavioural Science & Health), Dr Gavin Morgan (UCL Education Psychology), Dr Henry Potts (UCL Institute of Health Informatics) and Honorary Visiting Professor Dr Jo Waller (Institute of Epidemiology & Health). SPI-B provides advice aimed at anticipating and helping people adhere to interventions that are recommended by medical or epidemiological experts.
  • PHE Serology Working Group: Dr Rupert Beale (UCL Medicine) and Honorary Professor Sharon Peacock. This group provides insight of sero-epidemiology work for COVID-19 in England and works with international partners, including the WHO, on serological studies.
  • Environmental Working Group: Professor Alan Penn, Honorary Lecturer Dr Ben Killingley (UCL Institute for Global Health) and academic clinical fellow Dr Danielle Solomon (UCL Institute for Global Health). This group identifies how environmental modelling, sampling and data analysis can play in comprehending the transmission of COVID-19, in an aim to understand the routes and factors of transmission.
  • Children’s Task and Finish Working Group: Professor Russell Viner and Dr Gavin Morgan. This group provides advice to government on the transmission of COVID-19 in children and within schools.
  • The Hospital Onset COVID-19 Working Group: Honorary Professor Sharon Peacock and Honorary Senior Lecturer and Consultant Dr Susan Hopkins (UCL Infection & Immunity). This working group examines hospital-onset COVID-19 infection (HOCI) and aims to provide leadership, analysis, advance policy change and direct interventions which lead to a rapid lower rate of HOCI. 
  • SAGE also receives advice from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), a pre-existing government advisory group that advises on the threat from new and emerging respiratory viruses. Professor Andrew Hayward, Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Inclusion Health, and Dr Benjamin Killingley have been named on this group.



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Jake Hawkes

E: j.hawkes [at] ucl.ac.uk

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