Transforming Our Professional Services


About TOPS

TOPS Vision

Our vision for professional service excellence across UCL is for effective, efficient and integrated professional services that enable us to:

  • achieve academic excellence
  • sustain our position as one of the top ten universities in the world
  • create an environment in which our staff can personally develop and fulfil their potential


Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs) on why we are transforming our professional services:

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Why we need to transform our professional services

We are an expanding and complex organisation

Over the past decade, UCL has doubled in size.

In 2007 UCL had 20,000 students and 8,500 staff. In 2019 UCL has 2019 41,300 students and 13,500 staff

Our growth – brought about through both mergers and organic expansion – has created a powerhouse of academic strengths and we have become one of the world’s foremost universities.

  • UCL was rated the top university in the UK for research strength in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014)
  • As of April 2019 UCL is ranked 6th globally by “mean rank” (using NTUR 2018, URAP 2018/19, QS 2019, THE 2019 and SJT 2019).
  • There have been 29 Nobel Prize laureates amongst UCL’s alumni and current and former staff to date.

Today, we’re not only a huge institute, we’re also very complex. Some of that complexity is intrinsic to what we do, but it’s also due to the many similar tasks we carry out in numerous different ways. Currently, we often get things done through the exceptional commitment of our professional services staff who achieve results in spite of, rather than because of, the underlying processes, systems and ways of working. 

Professional services have grown around an out-of-date model that neither meets the needs of today’s UCL community, nor the increasing challenges of unprecedented global uncertainty: regulation, competition, Brexit and new challenges regarding fees, research income and worldwide reputation.

Our professional services have an essential role in UCL’s continued success and must be empowered and developed. 

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Find out about the progress of the TOPS Programme - Our ideas, your feedback and the journey so far

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Find out how the TOPS Programme is governed

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Find the answers to frequently asked questions about the TOPS Programme

TOPS Information Pack

This pack covers a brief introduction to the TOPS Programme and an overview of the current projects. We will update this periodically If you would like a PowerPoint version to use in presentations or briefings with your team, please contact tops@ucl.ac.uk


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Contact us

If you have any feedback, suggestions or thoughts about any of the TOPS Programme projects please get in touch.