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UCL events news and reviews


UCL Populations & Lifelong Health Domain Symposium 2017

By ucyow3c, on 20 January 2017

pencil-iconWritten by Emmeline Brown, MRes Translational Neurology, UCL Institute of Neurology

We must “recognise the myriad of influences on what makes us sick and what makes us healthy” began Professor Dame Anne Johnson, welcoming attendees to this symposium at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

Professor Dame Johnson pointed to UCL’s history of pioneering and expanding a transdisciplinary approach, emphasising the role of preventative measures and the need to provide research that can be used by policy-makers.

(Re)building healthier cities
Professor Michael Davies and Professor David Osrin, presenting the keynote session, discussed the need to understand the interactions between ‘soft’ (economic and social) and ‘hard’ (engineered) urban systems, in order to tackle the multiple challenges arising from globalisation.

Professor Osrin highlighted community participation in Mumbai, where he has been based since 2004: community women’s groups there who discussed issues, came up with solutions and implemented them achieved a 30% reduction in rural newborn deaths.


We heard extensively from early and mid-career researchers. Dr Evangelia Chrysikou described her work in exploring the exteriors of mental health facilities in Camden and the effects of these on stigmatisation. Dr Jens Kandt spoke about his research classifying neighbourhoods by multiple characteristics to develop an integrated perspective on urban health; and Marios Poullas described his study into the effects of El Nino Southern Oscillation on public health in India.

Digital Health

Andrew Eland, Engineering Director of Artificial Intelligence company DeepMind, began with the potential of digital tools in health innovations.

He had many insights into the use of deep learning to improve the efficiency of hospitals, which would not be possible with cumbersome paper medical files. He also spoke of the concurrent need to gain public trust in use of data through greater security and transparency.


Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis – lessons to be learnt

By ucyow3c, on 12 December 2016


Written by Lilian Schofield, UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit 

lebanon-refugees-distribution-511x414The debate and discourse surrounding migration and the current refugee crisis is one that can be contentious and to a certain extent emotive bringing about polarised stands amongst different parties. The surge of refugees to the UK and other European countries in the past few years has been a major issue to politicians and consequently, been in the foreground of policy makers as well as a topic of great concern among its citizens.  So serious is this issue that it has been regarded as a major emergency and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel stated that ‘the issue of asylum could be the next major European project’ (Berry et al 2016).

Read more on the UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit blog.


Hospitality and hostility: the role of established refugees in a crisis

By Melissa Bradshaw, on 9 November 2016

Even in the most sympathetic coverage, refugees often come across as passive and dependent. Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh’s Lunch Hour Lecture showed how refugees, in fact, actively help each other in highly challenging and complex situations. Her lecture focused on Baddawi, a refugee camp in North Lebanon.

Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is leading a new four-year AHRC-ESRC funded research project, Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria, that “aims to disrupt the assumption that citizens are hosts and aid providers while refugees are dependent recipients of aid”.

baddawi3This interdisciplinary and participatory research in nine communities in the Middle East will address the need for evidence that tells us how local communities respond to people displaced by conflict.

Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh is also Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit, and Coordinator of UCL’s Refuge in a Moving World Research Network, which seeks to examine the effects of UCL’s institutional response to the refugee crisis and strengthen its impact.

She outlined three trends: ‘Protracted displacement’ describes displacement that has lasted for more than 26 years; ‘urban displacement’ applies to the 65% of refugees living in cities; ‘overlapping displacement’ between different refugee groups has until now not been thoroughly analysed.

Baddawi is a Palestinian refugee camp run by competing groups and militia – a place of both violence and sanctuary, said Dr Fiddian-Qasmiyeh. It was established in 1955.

In 2007, 15 thousand refugees moved to Baddawi from Nahr al-Bared, another refugee camp that had become the centre of fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, a radical Sunni Islamist group.


UCL hosts migration briefing for foreign media

By ucyow3c, on 12 February 2014

pencil-iconWritten by Dominique Fourniol, Head of UCL Media Relations

Some 30 London-based foreign correspondents of media including El Pais of Spain, France’s Europe 1 and Xinhua of China came into UCL this week (10 February) for a briefing designed to shed some light on the often controversial topic of migration to the UK.

“UK migration: separating facts from fiction”, headed by Professor Christian Dustmann (UCL Economics and Director of the Centre for Research and Analysis for Migration), took place the day after the Swiss electorate voted to bring back quotas for EU migrants, underlining that this is a topical issue beyond the UK’s shores.

Professor Dustmann kicked off by stating that the briefing’s objective was to bring facts into a debate “that is often emotional and based on anecdotes rather than factual analysis.” His presentation set out how, since 1989, there has been global acceleration of migration, both across frontiers but also internally (notably China) and that if anything the UK’s percentage of migrants in the population is relatively modest in comparison with a range of OECD countries (at just over ten per cent), whereas today over one in four of the Swiss and Australian populations were born abroad. The UK is also among the smaller number of countries whose migrants are on average more highly educated than the native population.