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At UCL we're proud of our pioneering history, our distinguished present and our exciting future. UCL is a great place to be a student – here are some of the reasons why.
Learn about UCL's proud history and how it's a world-leading multi-disciplinary university based in the heart of London.
- UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength (Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014)
7th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2016).
29 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to people who are, or were, students or academics at UCL
155 - UCL staff and students come from a total of 155 countries
1st highest number of professors in any UK university.
975 professors among our academic staff; the UK university average is 85.
£614.9 million of research income (source: UCL annual report and financial statement 2014/15).
1st - UCL has the highest number of students funded through Doctoral Training Centres.
1st - UCL is the best performing university in the first year of the EU funding scheme Horizon 2020, securing a total of €73.2 million over 55 projects (source: Research Professional).
2nd - UCL has the second highest number of UK Research Council grant (2014/15)
3rd - UCL has the third highest number of European Research Council (FP7) grants awarded to EU higher education institutions 2007–13.
Our exceptional links and networks give you the opportunity to make contacts and gain valuable experience, as well as the chance to work on meaningful projects that have a positive impact on society.
UCL’s ongoing links with industry and other partners include: Arup, Cisco, the BBC, the EU, CERN, NASA, the UK Parliament, the UN, Dyson, Eisai, the British Museum, Microsoft, Intel, EDF
Your graduate degree constitutes an important step on your route to achieving your ambitions. Whatever your plans, study at UCL is designed to equip you not only with the academic knowledge associated with your chosen qualification, but also with skills for life.
Vital skills such as organising your ideas and time, analysing information, communicating complex concepts, appreciating and assimilating different perspectives, and applying theory to real-world circumstances are built into our programmes and supported by training. Such skills are highly valued by employers, and UCL offers a wealth of advice and support to help you achieve your personal, academic and professional aims. Our series of professional networking events is specifically designed to help new graduates embark on their careers.
UCL Careers also run a vast number of events which are open to all students during their time at UCL and for a further two years after they have completed their degree.
Find out how we can help you find your future: see www.ucl.ac.uk/careers. UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London. UCL students are eligible to attend events hosted by The Careers Group, details at www.gradsintocareers.co.uk
£36,720 for research programmes. £30,628 for taught programmes.
" We’ve had some really great UCL from UCL careers students on our graduate programmes. they’ve shown a real understanding of what we do as an organisation. this form of communication is vital for us at sky, as we look for people who can communicate well and break down complex tasks into simple solutions.
** All data taken from the 'Destination of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2015 graduating HESA report cohort, six months after graduation.
UCL has a long and successful track record of supporting spin-outs and start-ups developed by its academic and student communities and was recently hailed by the Guardian as a 'shining example of support for student entrepreneurs in an article about whether universities are doing enough to start businesses. Many of the student and staff entrepreneurs have won external awards and achieved substantial investment allowing their enterprises to grow and reach their full potential.
UCL Innovation & Enterprise offers a wide range of support to students ranging from training programmes, drop-in advice on whether an idea has commercial potential, one-to-one sessions with business advisers, funding, competitions and incubator space to help them start or grow their business and enhance their career development.
Find out more:
Follow us on Twitter: @UCLEnterprise
Like us on Facebook: UCLEnterprise
Dutch twins Joyce and Raissa De Haas (Technology Entrepreneurship MSc 2014) are shaking up the premium drinks industry! They launched their Double Dutch drinks business while studying at UCL, with the help of funding from a UCL Bright Ideas Award and business advice from the UCL Innovation & Enterprise team. Double Dutch has since gone from strength to strength, with stockists including Fortnum & Mason as well as around 200 bars and online retailers. The twins have also recently won a deal with US retail giant Target.
Naomi Poyser (Classics BA 2016) and Arindra Das (ICT Innovation MSc
2015) won a UCL Bright Ideas Award in 2015 and turned the seed of an
idea into a blooming business! Greenseed is an app designed to put local
gardeners in touch with each other in order to share advice and
encouragement, connect local people and strengthen communities.
Greenseed is now available to
download from app stores.
A global university, tackling global problems – UCL works throughout the world with partners in education, business, healthcare, development, philanthropy and government to find solutions to some of humankind’s
most pressing issues, and to undertake groundbreaking research across the academic spectrum.
The Francis Crick Institute is a brand-new biomedical research institute based in the King's Cross area of London, a short walk from UCL. It opened in 2015 and carries out research into illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and neurological diseases. UCL is one of the founding partners of this unique, interdisciplinary centre.
The Yale UCL Collaborative is a multi-disciplinary, transatlantic research, education and clinical collaboration between Yale University and UCL. Originally set up to share knowledge in the field of cardiovascular medicine, the initiative has subsequently expanded to other biomedical fields and other disciplines, including engineering, history, philosophy and law.
New research led by UCL for the Cities Changing Diabetes partnership shows that a complex mix of factors including geography, gender roles, tradition and cultural trends, can influence diabetes vulnerability. The year-long study is the world’s largest ever – covering five cities which together are home to 60 million people – and seeks to better understand what makes people vulnerable to type 2 diabetes in cities, where there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of the condition.
Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Ecuador on 16 April 2016, experts from UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering and the UCL Centre for Urban Sustainability & Resilience were deployed to the scene of the disaster. The team worked alongside the Ecuadorian government to evaluate the safety of damaged buildings, co-ordinate the response of additional experts deployed from other European countries, and ascertain why the buildings that failed did so.
The UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies (SSEES) participates in the FP7 network project ANTICORPP. Twenty one research groups in 16 EU countries are working together, with the central aim of investigating factors – such as legal responses, social mechanisms and democratic accountability – that promote or hinder the development of effective anti-corruption policies. The SSEES-led strand of the project focuses on the social and fiscal impact of corruption, as well as links between corruption and organised crime, and corruption and the media.
The DIFFER project, a collaboration between UCL and five other partners across Europe, India and Africa, aims to improve sexual and reproductive health for all women by using a combination of approaches. The ‘horizontal’ approach will examine how to strengthen and expand the existing healthcare systems used by the majority of women, while the ‘vertical’ approach looks at more targeted interventions in the case of marginalised populations, such as female sex workers, who are at increased risk of infection.
Researchers from the UCL Institute of Education are working in Jordan to develop and implement an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) training programme for the country. The first group of student teachers are expected to start in September 2016, with an annual increase in numbers so that by September 2020 all new teachers will be undergoing ITE before starting teaching in schools. This exciting project will help Jordan support learning in the country and meet the needs of all its pupils in public schools.
Researchers from UCL Earth Sciences are working to interpret the data from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat mission, designed to measure the changing thickness of land and sea ice over the Earth’s polar regions and determine how these regions are affected by climate change.
A collaboration between UCL, the Indian NGO Ekjut and the Public Health Foundation of India, the CARING trial is a research project aiming to improve nutrition and growth in the first 1,000 days of life in rural eastern India. The four-year study running from 2013 to 2017 aims to assess the feasibility of a community intervention to improve child growth in the rural districts of Jharkhand and Orissa, where the growth of over 60% of children is stunted.
UCL has signed a partnership agreement with the University of South Australia committing the two institutions to work together to develop teaching and research in South Australia in fields including minerals processing, advanced manufacturing, sustainable future energy production and protection, and care of the environment.
At the very heart of UCL’s mission is our research. We aspire to deliver a culture of wisdom and provide a supportive environment where academic insight can thrive, deepening knowledge and developing solutions to problems worldwide. We encourage academics to work across traditional subject boundaries and have established numerous centres to facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction.
Together with their global partners, scientists at UCL-TB have helped to reduce the time needed to genetically sequence the bacteria causing tuberculosis (Mtb) from weeks to days. As part of the European Union FP7-funded PATHSEEK consortium they have developed a new technique that could help health service providers to better treat disease, control transmission of this infection, and monitor outbreaks.
With the rapid sequencing this work makes available, it will be possible to trace TB infections in communities, or to identify a few highly infectious people, sometimes called 'super-spreaders'.
Since the introduction of the Overseas Domestic Worker visa in 2012, migrant domestic workers arrive in the UK under extremely restrictive conditions which, it is argued, make it all but impossible for them to escape an ongoing cycle of exploitation and fear.
A small-scale empirical study carried out by UCL Laws in conjunction with Kalayaan, a non-governmental organisation specialising in labour rights for migrant workers, showed that migrant domestic workers often endure conditions akin to modern slavery: they are grossly underpaid, threatened with violence, forced to work long hours without food or adequate accommodation, and have their passports withheld by their employers.
Since the introduction of the Overseas Domestic Worker visa in 2012, migrant domestic workers arrive in the UK under extremely restrictive conditions which, it is argued, make it all but impossible for them to escape an ongoing cycle of exploitation
A team from UCL and Royal Holloway, University of London has revealed in preliminary tests how decanoic acid, a fatty acid found in foods assigned to ketogenic diets, acts to block seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. Ketogenic diets are characterised by their high fat, low carbohydrate and controlled protein content.
They have been acknowledged as a useful means of controlling the symptoms of epilepsy for many years, although the mechanism by which the diet has antiepileptic effects is unknown. Researchers have pinpointed decanoic acid as the component that blocks a key neurotransmitter receptor involved in brain activity.
The study could offer a new approach to the treatment of epilepsy, with clinical trials scheduled to begin in 2016 at University College London Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Exciting pictures of the surface of Mars, including the site of the Beagle-2 lander and ancient lakebeds discovered by NASA’s Curiosity rover, have been released by UCL researchers who stacked and matched images taken from orbit to reveal objects at a resolution up to five times greater than previously achieved.
A paper describing the technique, called Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR), was published in Planetary and Space Science in February 2016 but has only recently been used to focus on specific objects on Mars.
The technique could be used to search for other artefacts from past failed landings, as well as to identify safe landing locations for future missions. It will also allow scientists to explore vastly more terrain than would be possible with a single rover.
An AHRC-funded collaboration between the UCL Institute of Education, UCL English and the British Library has produced a game-authoring tool based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf – allowing players to create their own characters, landscapes and events inspired by the text, encouraging co-curatorship and an interactive relationship with the epic.
Beowulf was one of the first major digitisation projects undertaken by the British Library, and its adaptation into a videogame opens up new ways of reinterpreting the poem and making it immediately accessible to school and university students. A particular feature of the game is the potential for players to explore the ambiguities inherent in the text through the use of morphing visual characters and shifting points of view.
Researchers from UCL Primary Care & Population Health have determined that it could be possible to assess a patient’s risk of developing dementia, by analysing information gathered at routine visits to the family doctor.
Using randomly selected anonymised patient records, collected from 377 UK general practices between 2000 and 2011, the team developed an algorithm to predict the risk of future dementia diagnoses within five years.
This was based on sociodemographic measures, health and lifestyle measurements, medical diagnoses and use of prescription medicine. The algorithm – the Dementia Risk Score – performed well in predicting risk for the 60–79 age group, and could be used in the future to help rule out patients at very low risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease in primary care.
Scientists from UCL Engineering and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have looked to the kitchen for inspiration – using different types of pancake batter to model how flexible sheets, like those found in human eyes, interact with flowing vapour and liquids.
The team found that using different ratios of flour to liquid in the batter affected how the pancakes spread and cooked, and gave them insights into how water vapour was trapped or released across the surface of the pancake depending on its thickness and shape.
The findings, published in Mathematics TODAY, have been applied to the treatment of glaucoma – a build-up of pressure in the eyes caused by fluid – and will lead to improvements in surgical methods for treating the condition
The extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago was directly followed by an explosion of diversity among mammals, according to new research by scientists from UCL Earth Sciences and UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment.
Over the course of the Paleocene epoch – the 10 million years following the extinction event that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs – the fossil record shows that placental mammals (the group that today includes nearly 5,000 species, including humans) became more varied in anatomy, with rapid increases in body size and ecological diversity.
The removal of predators and competitors allowed mammals to evolve three times faster than they had previously, and assume a greater variety of forms in this relatively short period than they had in the previous 160 million years.
A UCL study has pinpointed the mechanisms behind ‘inattentional deafness’ – where people fail to notice sounds whilst concentrating on other things.
Volunteers for the study were given various visual tasks to carry out, and their ability to detect sounds was measured in real time using MEG (magnetoencephalography). It was found that the more demanding the visual task, the more the brain’s response to sound was reduced. The research suggests that the senses of hearing and vision share a limited resource, and that the effects are driven by brain mechanisms at a very early stage of auditory processing – the volunteers were, in effect, deaf to these sounds.
Although inattentional deafness is a common problem, it can have more serious implications; for example cyclists or motorists focusing intently on a distraction and failing to hear sirens or horns.
Senceive Ltd is changing the face of remote condition monitoring across the construction and railway sectors. The UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering spinout company has developed an innovative FlatMesh™ wireless mesh networking technology platform, integrated with high precision sensors.
The technology provides a highly cost-effective, robust and scalable solution for monitoring tiny movement across geotechnical and structural assets like embankments, bridges, walls, tunnels and rail track-beds. The company has deployed hundreds of sensors across the London Underground and rail networks, and has recently delivered a monitoring solution for the Crossrail construction project, a major new route that will run for over 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west of London to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
Heritage scientists at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage have developed demographic models of decay and loss in order to predict when a large library or archival collection might age beyond repair. One model looked at how cellulose, the dominant macromolecule in paper, degrades over time depending on the acidity of the paper and the environmental conditions during storage; another looked at how wear and tear builds up over time as a book or folder is opened and read.
These models could help to predict how libraries and paper archives will fare as global temperatures are expected to rise by two degrees in the future, contributing to more sustainable methods of conservation.
Autolus Limited, a biopharmaceutical spinout from UCL Cancer, announced in March 2016 that it has raised £40 million of new capital. Autolus focuses on the development and commercialisation of next-generation engineered T-cell therapies for haematological and solid tumours, and is based on work carried out in UCL’s Cancer Institute and NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.
T-cells are part of our immune system. Normally they kill infected cells, but can be taken from the body, grown in the lab and ‘reprogrammed’ to recognise and kill cancer cells just as they would normally attack an infection. The funds will enable Autolus to develop its proprietary pipeline of engineered T-cell products.
Discover some of the innovative research being carried out by academics and PhD students across UCL's faculties.
I have just finished writing a book about writing and protest in West Germany around 1968. This book takes a different approach from most research on 1960s literature, in that it focuses on the importance of reading and writing within the protest movements, and the innovative, avantgarde and often scandalous ways in which protesters incorporated text and artistic ideas. The aim is to change our understanding of the relationship between art, especially in the form of text, and politics – then and now.
This project has involved what was for me a really important re-definition of literature itself, from a traditional notion of fine writing to a far wider, more eclectic and demotic range of texts, from graffiti to flyers to slogans – to poetry and experimental prose too, and so has been very interdisciplinary.
Next, I will be working on a film about women and creativity around 1968, the intersections of medicine and literature in Germany, and what German arts had and have to say about the Vietnam conflict of the 1960s.
Mererid Puw Davies
Senior Lecturer in German
My work uses observational and interventional study designs to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of stroke, with a focus on various forms of brain haemorrhage. Brain scanning with MRI is a fantastic way to visualise the effects of small vessel damage on the brain, revealing an increasing range of changes (including cerebral microbleeds, white matter changes and ‘silent’ infarcts). My team are
investigating how these and other ‘biomarkers’ could improve diagnosis,
prognosis, disease monitoring, and prevention – and ultimately help us to test new treatments relating to cerebral small vessel disease.
In stroke, we are often concerned with preventing further artery blockages by giving antithrombotic drugs (‘blood thinners’), at the cost of a small increase in the risk of brain haemorrhage. Our work using neuroimaging, including the detection of cerebral microbleeds, may help to personalise these common treatments to maximise benefit and reduce harms.
Professor of Clinical Neurology
My doctoral research is in the multidisciplinary field of education and international development, and looks at overlapping or intersecting forms of marginalisation, including inequalities that are related to gender, violence, poverty and education.
To explore these complex issues I interviewed Zulu women in rural South Africa about their histories, as well as observing literacy classes in which they participated. Studying at the UCL Institute of Education has given me space to understand
education and international development theoretically, particularly in relation to gender. Inequality is a global concern which increasingly affects the ways in which we can live our lives. Looking at how people understand these processes can help
us speak back to policy and to power.
My PhD has involved developing an optical system to monitor metabolism in the newborn brain. The machine is based on near-infrared spectroscopy which is a technique that uses the relative transparency of biological tissue in the near-infrared region to probe changes in metabolism deep in the brain. The aim of my research was to build such a system for the neonatal intensive care unit to monitor newborn infants with brain injury. These infants are in a critical condition and the doctors taking care of them are in need of a monitor of brain metabolism to improve their diagnosis and treatment. The project has been very multidisciplinary as I've had to use physics and engineering skills to develop the machine, spend time in the hospital doing measurements, use signal processing techniques to perform data analysis and learn about the physiology of the injured brain to interpret the data. The project has been successful; I have monitored over 60 babies with brain injury so far and am finding links between my measurement of metabolism and the severity of brain injury.
Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering PhD
My research focuses broadly on the legal regimes which regulate violence under international law (including in respect of the use of force, armed conflicts, and terrorism suppression). In particular, I explore these regimes with a view to better accounting for the increasingly central role of individuals in the international system and the realities of modern threats to international peace and security.
For example, I am currently writing on the interaction between the law of armed conflict and international law related to terrorism suppression. Politically, it is rather expedient these days to refer to armed groups like the Taliban and Daesh as "terrorists" – but there are potentially legal implications to doing so. My research
seeks to identify those implications and to propose a framework of analysis which preserves the core elements of each regime, while accommodating the changing nature of armed conflict and its participants.
Dr Kimberley Trapp
Senior Lecturer in Public International Law
We are studying cellular metal homeostasis (mainly iron, but also zinc, copper and manganese). These metal ions are constituents of thousands of proteins, both structural and enzymatic. Cellular metal homeostasis requires multiple proteins for transport, sensing, chaperoning and other functions in networks of tightly controlled interactions and full integration with signalling and metabolism. Failure
to control the levels and cellular location of these metals leads to disease. Fundamental insight into the control of metal ion homeostasis will lead to understanding of the physiological and toxic action of metals in health and disease.
The main theme of my current research is trafficking and function of ion transport proteins and their role in health and disease. Specifically we are interested in the cellular role and trafficking of members of the SLC39A family of iron, zinc and manganese transporters, mutations which have been shown to cause neurological diseases. We use mammalian tissue culture cells as model systems to study these mechanisms.
Professor Kaila Surjit Srai
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
I study past environments using marine plankton fossils, specifically calcareous nannoplankton (coccolithophores), one of the major primary producers in the ocean. Despite their microscopic size, coccolithophores are highly abundant and comprise 35% of ocean sediments.
I focus on the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, 66 million years ago, when a major mass extinction led to the loss of 70% of all marine species, as well as a large
part of terrestrial species including the dinosaurs. Coccolithophores were one of the most severely affected groups with 90% of species becoming extinct. However, the marine ecosystem rapidly recovered and the oceans regained fertility.
My research aims to use evolutionary rates in calcareous nannoplankton in order to understand the rate and process of this recovery. Gaining an understanding of different species' responses to such a catastrophic event is particularly useful, as there
are growing concerns that we are facing a bio-crisis in the present day.
Earth Sciences PhD
My research group investigates how bacteria cause disease and become resistant to antibiotics, and how they transfer DNA from one bacteria to another. We are also discovering new bioactive compounds (e.g. antibiotics) produced by bacteria that we may be able to use in medicine. The problem of antibiotic resistance is so huge that it needs many different approaches to try and solve it. These include finding out the mechanisms of resistance and coming up with new drugs. We use a combination of genomics, traditional microbiology, metagenomics, biochemistry and analytical chemistry to look at this problem.
The location of UCL is second to none. Both nationally and internationally its central location makes it easy to have face-to-face meetings and meet new collaborators. UCL itself attracts investment, both in terms of excellent students and also collaborations with industry.
Dr Adam Roberts
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology
My research looks at the relationship between mobile money use and access to healthcare in Kenya. Mobile money is a mobile phone-based service that enables users to deposit, send, receive and withdraw cash. If linked to a mobile bank account, users can save, earn interest and apply for loans. It doesn’t require internet access and works on any device. The best example is M-PESA in Kenya, which has 25 million accounts and moves 38 % of the country’s GDP. But what is its impact on healthcare provision? Kenya charges users fees at the point of access to healthcare. Furthermore, health insurance coverage is very low.
My research entails a quantitative secondary data analysis of a survey dataset using multilevel mixed effects regression techniques to model the relationship between mobile money use and access to healthcare at different levels. I’m trying to argue that mobile money users are better able to access healthcare as they can save and get loans to pay for their care or for transportation to a health facility. They can also promptly mobilise funds from friends and relatives miles away to pay for medical costs.
Global Health and Development MSc
My PhD is a cross-disciplinary, multilingual and multicultural study, which means that the methodology and analytical process involves several disciplines of social sciences and humanities and collection and analysis of data in Russian, English, Persian and Pashto languages.
The aim of my thesis is threefold. Firstly, it explores Russia’s role in Afghanistan from the reign of Peter the Great to the post-September 11, 2001 period, and examines Russia’s geopolitical culture and formation of strategic thinking towards Afghanistan. Secondly, it evaluates the significance of Afghanistan for Russia in the 21st century and provides an analysis of Russia’s political, economic and security policy in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Lastly, it explores the whole spectrum of relationships involving Russia as the main state actor with the key players in Central Eurasia – such as the US, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and the five Central Asian states – from 2001 onwards in a historical and geopolitical context.
Slavonic and East European Studies PhD
My doctoral research at the UCL Institute of Archaeology examines how the construction of prehistoric monuments such as Stonehenge changed over the course of 2,000 years. Specifically, I’m drawing on archaeological, ethnographic and experimental studies to inform computational models that simulate how such enormous monuments were actually built. Novel spatial and statistical analyses then allow me to assess the impact that building monuments had on prehistoric
communities, in terms of time and energy. Knowing how monument building varied through time and space in this way is critical to our overall understanding of the social development of sedentary societies in Britain.
Outside of archaeology, I’ve worked with a number of leading experts at UCL to develop further skills; I’ve organised public engagement activities, radically improved my French and am now accustomed to programming in several different languages.