UCL Research


About research culture

Learn about how UCL’s research culture journey has evolved in partnership with our research community.


Consultation (2021)

Over the years, the UCL research community has led many activities to support a healthy research culture. In 2021, UCL carried out a consultation of our research community that generated 2.4k survey responses, 30 hours of focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 135 colleagues. The findings from UCL's consultation were published in an internal report in December 2021. These mirrored the findings detailed in sector-wide reports such as those by Wellcome and the Royal Society.

Key insights from the consultation
  • UCL researchers want UCL’s research culture to be less competitive and more inclusive, collaborative, supportive and creative than it currently is. Their ideal research culture would include a greater focus on  people, in addition to existing focus on outputs.
  • Many researchers acknowledge that UCL is innovative, excellent and ambitious. However, this excellence is perceived as coming at the expense of workplace experience and wellbeing.
  • Problematic behaviours are largely driven by workload-related pressures, a system that is perceived to reward problematic behaviours and institutional systems and processes that are not considered fit for purpose.
  • Management is pivotal in setting local culture in a large, devolved organisation. At UCL, it appears undervalued, and it is not incentivised as it should be. Workload was mentioned as a barrier to good management practices.
  • Female researchers had less positive experiences than their male counterparts particularly with equitable and merit-based career progression. More data is needed to understand the varied experiences of minority groups, but responses generally supported the hypothesis that staff from these groups face additional burdens due to a backdrop of underrepresentation, societal racism and prejudice.
  • The more senior the researcher the greater their job satisfactionEarly career researchers and established researchers reported the most negative experiences related to feeling valued, experiencing discrimination, bullying and/or harassment, support for wellbeing, and career progression.

Enhancing Research Culture Programme (2022)

From March to July 2022, we took the learnings from the consultation, shaped them into a set of recommendations and launched 39 cross-UCL and faculty-led projects to enhance research culture. These projects allowed us to pilot new approaches and start responding to some of the things you told us were priorities. 

The projects were supported by Enhancing Research Culture funds. 

Delivering the Research Culture Roadmap (2022 onwards)

In 2022, we built on our previous learnings and successes of the ERCP to create the Research Culture Roadmap, setting out our plan of action for the next 10 years. As of 2023, UCL is continuing to deliver and support a programme of cross-UCL and faculty-led initiatives that deliver against the themes and goals of the Roadmap.

More information

About the Research Culture programme

UCL's Research Culture programme is sponsored by Professor Geraint Rees, Vice-Provost for Research, Innovation and Global Engagement (RIGE).