UCL has an extraordinary depth and breadth of research, education and innovation which make a major contribution to society and have the potential for transformational benefit.
UCL is committed to working in partnership with other organisations to maximise the impact of our activities for communities locally, nationally and globally – and doing so in a sustainable and collaborative manner.
At this turbulent time, we recognise the critical importance of the role of universities. We have been inspired by the extraordinary efforts of all university communities in responding to the global crisis. UK universities have played a key role during the pandemic, in training and supporting health workers, providing expert advice to governments, sequencing genomes, inventing and testing new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines and much more.
UCL is a comprehensive global university. We have a global perspective and global networks, and we deliver impact globally. We also have an identity as a UK university, and our own future success is inextricably linked to the wellbeing and prosperity of UK citizens and to the economy of the UK. For this reason, UCL has established the role of Pro-Vice-Provost (PVP) for the UK, to help maximise the national impact of UCL, as London’s Global University. The PVP (UK) will work closely in partnership with the PVP (London) and PVP (International) to maximise impact from the breadth of UCL’s scholarly activities for people around the world.
Below we outline our emerging approach to this new area, some of the work already underway and the impact already achieved. Everything we do is in partnership with others, and we are always looking out for new partners with whom we can work to create further impact and benefit.
If you would like to work with us or think we can help, please do get in touch.
Professor Stephen Caddick
UCL Pro-Vice-Provost (UK)
UCL is committed to delivering impact and social benefit locally, nationally and globally, and as part of that commitment we recognise the critical role universities can play in creating a more sustainable and prosperous future for the UK.
Our vision is for the scholarly activities of UCL to have a meaningful and measurable positive impact on every citizen of the UK.
We are focusing on the following areas and all of them involve multiple partners and many different communities.
- Enhancing and supporting a thriving and resilient knowledge economy – for example through our support for thousands of UK SMEs, the creation of dozens of spinout companies and supporting our alumni in creation of thousands of small businesses.
- Tackling inequality as part of the levelling up agenda – for example through the fundamental work of Professor Sir Michael Marmot on social determinants of health and the Prosperity Co-Labs, Prosperity Index and rebuilding prosperity campaign
- Supporting the UK’s world-class research ecosystem – for example through our partnerships in the Rosalind Franklin Institute and the Francis Crick Institute, and our open access initiative UCL Press
- Developing pathways to real-world impact – for example through our Global Disability Innovation Hub, the Mandarin Excellence Programme and our participation in the national COVID sequencing initiative – COG-UK – which has sequenced more than 370,000 COVID viruses
We assess and measure our impact in a number of different ways – but one of the most important ways to measure our immediate impact is the number of people who have materially benefited from the work of UCL. In an organisation of the breadth and complexity of UCL is not possible to capture every aspect of impact, but when we analyse our case studies from REF 2014 and REF 2021, as well as our Sustainable Development Goals case studies, it is clear that UCL has an impact on many millions of people within the UK. Below are just three examples of the many hundreds of projects that already have made a very significant impact to the people of the UK – and are likely to continue to do so in the coming years.
The UCL-Ventura breathing aid is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that supports patients with breathing difficulties. This CPAP was developed as a collaboration between UCL, University College London Hospital and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains. The design is based on an existing off-patent CPAP system that has been further modified to optimise oxygen consumption. 10,000 units have been made available to UK hospitals, and the design has been made freely available and been adopted by many countries around the world.
Supporting the UK tech community via a Digital Business Academy
In 2014 UCL worked with a range of partners to create the Digital Business Academy – an online platform to help support new technology companies and entrepreneurs. The platform was based on UCL’s in-house digital learning platform and has been used to deliver support for tens of thousands of UK companies.
Evidence for best practice within NHS Stop Smoking Services
Research by UCL's Professor Susan Michie and colleagues led to the establishment of the NHS Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training in 2009, estimated to have helped 7,500 smokers to quit, saving an estimated 6,500 life years.
These services now treat some 700,000 smokers each year and are the single largest life-saving treatment service in the NHS, preventing an estimated 12,000 premature deaths each year.