UCL Research


New Chairs for UCL Environment and Space Research Domains

4 October 2022

UCL's Research Domains, cross-disciplinary networks established to foster and support collaboration, are pleased to announce the appointment of new Chairs to two of the domains, Professor Tom Kitching [left] and Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran [right].

Prof Tom Kitching and Dr Lakshmi Rajendran

UCL Space Domain

Professor Tom Kitching, from the Department of Space and Climate Physics, will be the new Space Domain Chair. Tom joins Professor Victor Buchli, Space Domain Co-Chair, and Dr Anna Parkin, Research Coordinator: Space, as the Space Domain embarks on the next stage of its journey.

Tom is an astrophysicist and cosmologist and is currently part of the scientific leadership of a €1bn joint European Space Agency and NASA astrophysics mission, due to launch in 2023. His research interests include cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, statistics, machine learning and systems engineering. Tom is also a prolific science communicator; he has featured in a BBC Horizon documentary on Dark Energy; co-created the Fingertip Galaxy, an artwork that will be launched into space on Euclid; is a writer for The Conversation. Tom is also PI of a €2M EU H2020-funded space network consisting of 11 institutes across Europe. 

“With the creation of the Space Domain, UCL has initiated a key activity to make the most of the rapidly evolving national and international space ecosystem. I am honoured to have the opportunity to build on the existing foundations and help secure UCL’s place at the centre of a thriving UK ecosystem of space research and innovation excellence.”

UCL Environment Domain

Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran, from the Bartlett School of Architecture, will be the new Environment Domain Co-Chair. Lakshmi is currently on Maternity leave and will join Professor Nick Tyler, Environment Domain Co-Chair and Dr Becca Burns, Strategic Co-ordinator: Environment upon her return early 2023.

Lakshmi is a social scientist with a background in architecture, urban design and planning. She has a keen interest in interdisciplinary and international research particularly focusing on developing countries and strives for opportunities to expand her research interests in interdisciplinary urban studies and to find new ways of understanding and studying people and environment interactions. This has allowed her to develop a wealth of research methods and interdisciplinary approaches for examining complex and pressing challenges affecting cities and city regions today.

We look forward to working with Lakshmi and wish her all the best for the remainder of her maternity leave.