UCL Research


UCL and the UK

UCL's future success is inextricably linked to the wellbeing and prosperity of UK citizens and to the economy of the UK.

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.

Below we outline our approach to this 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.

Our approach


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.

Four key areas

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 a few 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.

Changing mental health policies and practice to support young people across the UK

A new programme of interventions evaluated by the Evidence Based Practice Unit at UCL and the Anna Freud Centre is transforming support for young people’s mental health.

Improving care for stroke patients in the UK

UCL research led by Professor Naomi Fulop has changed to the way UK hospital stroke services are organised, improving care for 20,000 stroke patients and saving 68 lives each year.

Protecting rough sleepers during the pandemic

UCL research and guidance informed England’s largest ever health-led action on homelessness, preventing 20,000 COVID-19 infections during the pandemic’s first wave and housing 33,000 vulnerable people.

Helping plot the UK’s pathway to net zero

UCL Bartlett researchers developed a model to identify which sectors of UK industry should be decarbonised first – and how fast – for the UK to cost-effectively meet its emissions targets.

Raising national awareness of the legacies of British slave ownership

UCL’s Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership (LBS) informed and led evidence-based discussions about the impact of colonial slavery on British society, economics, and culture.

Creating equitable, inclusive and positive representations of girls and women in the UK

An innovative programme at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education & Society, exposing gender and race inequalities in media advertising, has led to the UK advertising industry including more diverse imagery.

Transforming access to children’s social care records in England

The Memory, Identity, Rights in Records, Access project identified key areas that social care recordkeeping practices could be improved, benefiting thousands of adults who were in care as children.

Access our Feb 2022 Update: Focus on mapping impact / View more impact stories here