UCL President & Provost

Provost's news

Provost's View: My priorities for 2015–2016

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Michael Arthru

It is my pleasure to welcome all staff and students to the beginning of a new academic year – a very important one for UCL, with much to do – as always.

Provost’s View: Women in Science

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UCL was the first University in England to admit women on equal terms to men. Equality between the sexes is one of our core values, yet this past fortnight our commitment to women and to women in science has been challenged, our reputation put under pressure and we have been part of an intense and uncomfortable media storm.

Provost’s Long View: A truly remarkable year

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As the longest day of the year – 21 June – fell last week, a collective sigh was almost audible across campus; one of relief from undergraduates now that term is behind them, and one of contemplation from postgraduates and staff bracing themselves for a summer of research and planning.

Vice Provost's View: Professor Sir John Tooke's farewell reflections on UCL SLMS

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Sir John Tooke

As I approach my last few weeks as Vice-Provost (Health) at UCL, I hope you will indulge me in a few reflections and thoughts for the future of this great institution. Clearing out my stuff, I came across my letter of application for the role, in which I emphasised three issues for the UCL School of Life & Medical Sciences (UCL SLMS): commitment to the whole translational spectrum whilst sustaining excellent discovery science; greater visibility of our core strengths; and the projection of SLMS as an intellectual hub for biomedical science, with effective partnership working at its core.

Provost’s View: Unveiling the mysteries of university finance

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Over the last few weeks, we have been working on UCL’s budget for next year. It will go to Council for approval in July, in time for the start of the 2015/16 financial year on 1 August.

Vice-Provost’s View: UCL East – imagining the future campus

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In taking on responsibility for leading the Academic Programme Board of UCL East, I have – not for the first time – been looking to UCL’s founders for inspiration.

Provost’s Long View: Preparing for QAA Review - a chance to showcase the best of UCL

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We have recently received confirmation that UCL will be subject to review by the Quality Assurance Agency in May 2016. This may sound a little strange, but I am actually looking forward to the review, for reasons that I will explain. The QAA is the UK-wide agency responsible for monitoring and advising on the standards and quality of UK higher education. As part of a common framework for quality assurance, all universities agree to be subject to an independent review by QAA every six years or so. UCL was last reviewed in 2009 and so we are definitely due a visit.

Vice-Provost's View: Launch of our new Global Engagement Strategy

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I’m delighted – and not a little relieved – to announce that Council approved the new GES on 13 April, after a full discussion on 30 March. The new strategy can be summarised as ‘London’s Global University works with partners to achieve fair solutions to global challenges’.

With great support from the Communications & Marketing office and others across UCL, we are launching with staff and students today:

Provost's View: What does the outcome of the general election mean for UCL?

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The opinion polls, we now know, were wrong. It seems around 3% of voters were telling the pollsters one thing, only to do another in the polling booth. I read an interesting analysis of this phenomenon at the weekend, but what does the result mean for UCL?

Vice-Provost's View: Farewell UCL

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Steve Caddick

It has been a great privilege to be Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL and inevitably as I pack my bags to make the long trip from Gordon Street to the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, I have been reflecting on the last five years. So much has changed and so much has been achieved by UCL.

Provost's View: Championing research-based education

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Teaching conference

Many of you know by now that one of our priorities – as outlined in UCL 2034 – is our commitment to teaching and learning excellence through research-based education. Many changes will be taking place over the next few years that will have a long-term impact on the future of UCL, and you’ll be hearing more about them from many parts of the university.

Provost’s Long View: UCL 2034 – turning words into action

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UCL 2034

With the general election looming, the emerging picture for the future funding of higher education is looking less than ideal. Although UCL has done well in HEFCE’s 2015/16 funding announcement today, with a 4% increase in our funding allocation for teaching and research, the underlying pressures were reflected in an overall drop of 5% for the sector as a whole.

Vice-Provost’s View: Optimising UCL’s contribution to medical innovation

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After our spectacular performance in REF 2014, there can be no doubt of UCL’s power in relationship to biomedical research and the impact of our work. The very structure of the UCL School of Life & Medical Sciences (UCL SLMS) reflects our commitment to translating research from bench to bedside to population – a structure that facilitates the impact for which we were recognised in the REF exercise. Neither is there any doubt that impact will be an even more significant component of the next REF. Despite this apparent incentive to focus on applied research, we must continue to champion the conduct of world-class fundamental discovery science with no obvious direct application for pragmatic reasons if no other.

Provost’s View: How philanthropy enables our students to succeed

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As many of you know, my office is located at the southern end of the Wilkins Building’s South Cloisters, which means I have an esteemed neighbour: Jeremy Bentham’s auto-icon.

Provost's View: Women in the workplace (and what men can do to help)

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This week saw something of a departure for me. On Monday, it was my great pleasure to take part in SEVEN, a documentary play presented by the UCL Institute for Women’s Health and based on the real life stories of seven women’s rights activists from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, Pakistan, Northern Ireland and Cambodia.

Provost’s View: 100 glorious years of SSEES

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On 14 January, I attended a reception to launch the centenary year of the UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies, more commonly known by its acronym, SSEES. SSEES joined the UCL community in August 1999, before which it was an independent School within the University of London.

Vice-Provost’s View: Professor Chris Husbands on education policy in the run-up to the General Election

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  • Professor Chris Husbands is Director of the UCL Institute of Education and UCL Vice-Provost (Academic Development) a new role to which he was appointed on 11 Feb 2015 in which he will exercise general oversight of UCL’s human resource management policies and practices for academic and research staff.

Provost's View: Transforming UCL - changes on the UCL campus in 2015

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Wates House

Earlier this month, I attended two separate events to celebrate improvements to UCL's estate that have enhanced the experience of thousands of our students. The first of these was to celebrate the implementation of Wi-Fi in some 4,000 student rooms at our residences in record time. The second cause for celebration was the formal opening of the Cruciform Hub. This new facility is absolutely world-class and the whole development, based on exhaustive consultation with students undertaken by Library Services, has been done in a way that is consistent with the historic nature of the building.

Provost’s Long View: UCL Arena, Connected Curriculum and advancing research-based education

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Arena banner

In recent weeks I have, not surprisingly, written much about our outstanding research success and the results of REF 2014 – an achievement that continues to resonate around the sector, both in the UK and internationally.

Provost's View: Widening participation and fair access

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Widening participation

From our very beginning in 1826, UCL was open to all irrespective of religion, race, and (albeit a little later) gender. I wonder what our founders might have thought of the modern day desire and need to demonstrate ‘fair access’ and ‘widening participation’ (WP), with the requirement for us to report on both annually to HEFCE and the Office of Fair Access. I expect that they might have been mortified by the regulatory requirements, but I hope that they would have been seriously impressed by the importance we attach to this issue and by both the breadth and the depth of our efforts.

Provost's View: Reflections on Charlie Hebdo, REF and plans for the year ahead

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Freshers fayre

I was intending to write a very cheerful message to welcome all students and staff back to UCL and to be optimistic about our new year. Needless to say the shocking events last week in Paris and France have dampened my spirits. I would like to send UCL’s condolences and our sympathy to all the families that have suffered such a tragic loss and a message of support to all of the people of France, and particularly to our French colleagues in higher education. Like you, we uphold freedom of expression (within the law) as a fundamental principle that lies at the core of our values as an institution. Our collective UCL pencil is held high in the air in solidarity with all of you.

Vice-Provost’s View: A game-changing REF result

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David Price

Being of a generally sunny disposition, I casually stated in a December 2013 Vice-Provost’s View: “I’ve no doubt that our university’s research strengths will be properly recognised in a year’s time.” (I was to be pleasantly surprised.)

Provost's View: Looking back on autumn 2014

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Nobel prize theatre

A Nobel Prize, the green light for an Olympic Park campus and UCL’s merger with the Institute of Education have been three of the headlines for UCL in a term that has seen our university take great strides in its estates transformation, international partnerships, fundraising activity and development of UCL’s Grand Challenges approach.

Provost's View: UCL East – a new model for the university of the future

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Olympic Park

UCL has once again been at the heart of the news agenda over the past few days, with the announcement that the government will commit £141 million to a new cultural and education quarter. UCL is a founding partner in this venture and we will establish a second campus, UCL East, on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

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