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Ask an Academic: Aimee Spector

SophieVinter21 November 2019

Aimee is Professor of Old Age Clinical Psychology in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, UCL. Her work focuses on CST (Cognitive Stimulation Therapy), which she originally developed as her PhD thesis from 1999-2001. Since then, she has established and coordinates the International CST centre and developed the CST training course, having trained over 2000 people in CST. She is the author of numerous academic publications on CST and on the four CST training manuals. Since its initial publication in 2003, CST remains the only non-pharmacological intervention recommended for cognitive dementia in the updated (2018) Department of Health NICE guidelines.

Aimee has continued to supervise academic research on CST and other psychosocial interventions for dementia, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). In late November she visited Peking University to continue a collaboration with colleagues there into CST research.

Can you give us a brief overview of your research into Cognitive Stimulation Therapy?

The journey began in 1998, when I started my PhD here at UCL. My thesis aimed to develop and evaluate a non-pharmacological intervention for dementia, using similar methodology and outcomes to the drug trials, which at the time were the only recommended treatment for mild to moderate dementia. We ended up developing CST, a group intervention that stimulates different cognitive functions through fun activities. We found that its cognitive benefits were comparable to the dementia medication, whilst it also significantly improved quality of life. I have continued to be involved in CST research since then, including looking at its longer term effects, individualised CST and global implementation studies.

What got you interested in the subject in the first place?

When I was a psychology undergraduate, I did work experience in a care home for older people. I was shocked at the lack of stimulation that people received, particularly those with dementia, who spent so much time doing nothing. Their unmet needs and subsequent excess disability were palpable. I was very lucky to find a PhD project that so clearly matched a clinical interest of mine.

What kind of outcomes have you seen from implementing CST programmes around the world?

Several countries (including Brazil, the US, Hong Kong, Portugal, Germany and Tanzania) have subsequently translated, culturally adapted and evaluated the CST programme that we developed at UCL. Studies have repeatedly shown that CST leads to significant benefits in cognitive function, with many showing secondary benefits including significant improvements in quality of life, depression and carer well-being.

What will you be working on with your colleagues at PKU?

We are fortunate in that a Chinese CST manual is now published, and a team in Hong Kong have evaluated CST and published this work. We therefore are moving towards ‘implementation research’, which involves developing and testing methodology to bring an intervention into wide-scale practice. We will develop and publish an implementation plan for CST in China, which will involve interviewing a range of stakeholders (people with dementia and their families, health professionals and policy / decision makers). This plan will consider the barriers and facilitators of effective implementation, outlining mechanisms to overcome them. Our next step will be to collaboratively apply for grant funding to test out this implementation plan experimentally. We will use the methodology developed in a similar CST implementation programme (‘CST International’) that I currently lead in Brazil, India and Tanzania, funded by the MRC. We also plan to hold a conference at PKU on psychosocial interventions for dementia, develop the first cohort of CST trainers in China (as we have now done in Hong Kong) and are exploring opportunities for teaching and student exchange. 

How do you think the cross-cultural collaboration will support your work?

Dementia is an enormous, global problem. Bringing in a range of cultural perspectives and testing implementation in different cultures and environments can only enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of action in CST and best practice in service delivery. This perspective is particularly important given that the UK is multicultural and we are often delivering clinical interventions to people from a range of cultures and perspectives.

What would you say to other UCL academics who are thinking of applying for UCL-PKU Strategic Partner Funds?

Go for it! These funds open up fantastic opportunities to search for new partners in your area of research, facilitate collaborations that otherwise might not happen, and enable cross cultural learning. My past UCL-HKU partnership supported by UCL Grand Challenges has led to long-term collaborations (and friendships), which I hope will continue to grow in years to come.

Find out more: International CST website 

International CST on Twitter

Ask an Academic: Dr Adriana Silva De Albuquerque

Sian EGardiner22 March 2019

Dr Adriana Silva De Albuquerque is a Research Associate at the UCL Division of Infection and Immunity. Her research interests broadly relate to the study of clinical models of human immunodeficiency.

She was among recent recipients of the UCL Global Engagement Funds, and last year used the seed funding to travel to a lab at the Karolinska Institutet in Solna, Sweden. We caught up with her to find out more about her research and her partnership with scientists in Sweden.

What are you working on at the moment?

My current project aim is to understand the pathogenic mechanisms of a group of rare, inherited conditions where individual components of the immune system are missing – known as ‘primary immunodeficiency syndromes’.

Our clinical team cares for the largest UK cohort of adults with primary immunodeficiencies for which whole genome sequencing has been performed. I’m developing new immune assays on patients’ cells as well as in cell lines and genetically modified cells, in order to assess the impact of novel genetic variants on immune cell function. With this project, we hope to expand our understanding of the underlying causes of primary immunodeficiencies, as well as to contribute to the development of new diagnostic tests that will hopefully lead to improved treatment of patients.

You were among recent recipients of UCL’s Global Engagement Funds (GEF). What led you to apply for the funds?

The possibility of visiting another lab [at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden] and the chance to become involved in the cutting-edge research they are doing. Having a curious mind and being very enthusiastic to learn more about immunology, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me on a professional level.

 Could you give a brief summary of the project that the funds supported?

We are interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying ‘LRBA deficiency’. LPS-responsive beige-like anchor (LRBA) deficiency is a severe primary immunodeficiency characterised by increased susceptibility to infections associated with autoimmune and inflammatory complications. The immune dysregulation caused by this disease results in a significant morbidity and mortality. The only curative approach is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which has only been done in a small number of cases.

How did your partnership with the Karolinska Institutet work?

UCL’s Global Engagement Funds enabled me to visit Dr Lisa Westerberg lab at the Karolinska Institutet, our collaborators on this project. Dr Westerberg has a strong expertise in primary immunodeficiencies and I was able to learn and exchange experiences with the PhD students and Post-Docs working in her lab. The time I spent in their lab was very rewarding as I was able to learn new techniques important for our current projects. I also had the opportunity to discuss our data with them, which contributed to the development of new research ideas.

During my stay in Sweden, I also visited the clinical lab based at the Karolinska University Hospital that does all the immunological tests for the diagnosis of primary immunodeficiencies. This was very interesting as I was able to learn some of the tests they are performing and also participate in the daily routine of a top level diagnostic lab.

How did you find the experience of collaborating overseas?

The experience of spending some time in the Karolinska Institute was very positive for me. What contributed most for the success of my stay was that I was able to analyse the LRBA knock-down cells we have genetically modified by electron microscopy, as the Karolinska Institute has a strong expertise in this technique and it was key for this project.

What would your advice be to anyone else hoping to collaborate globally?

Try to identify specific groups you might be interested because of their expertise, knowledge of specific techniques you want to learn or specific projects and ideas you would like to discuss with them. I would say the best way of approaching them would be in international conferences. Try to engage in discussions with scientists of different backgrounds and different levels of expertise. From my experience, scientists are very receptive to this kind of approach.

Ask an academic: Dr Jennie Golding

Sian EGardiner28 January 2019

Dr Jennie Golding is a lecturer in Mathematics Education at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE). Her research focuses in particular on teacher development for policy change in both the UK and a variety of second and third world contexts.

Jennie regularly works with teachers, policy makers and teacher educators in developing countries to support the growth of evidence-based, effective maths education. We spoke to her to find out more about her recent work in East Africa, supported by a UCL Global Engagement Fund (GEF) grant.

You started out as a mathematician and moved into teaching – what interested you in education?

I had enjoyed working with three-18 year olds on a voluntary basis – and I think enjoying being with young people is really important. Then I began to analyse the different functions my teachers at school and university had played, and to appreciate the difference a good teacher makes to clarity and enjoyment of the subject I love.

The rest is history – except that after a long career classroom-based, but working in teacher development alongside that, in this country and the developing world, I felt I wanted to capitalise on that by moving into HE.

You were among recent recipients of UCL’s Global Engagement Funds (GEF). What led you to apply for the funds?

I have a passionate belief in the power of education to transform individuals and society – and in equitable access to that. In particular, young people can’t access 21st century science and technology without knowing mathematics in a meaningful way – and yet, many developing countries have an education tradition that majors on rote learning, and teacher as authoritarian and source of all knowledge.

The initial GEF funding enabled me to engage with, and visit, a range of teachers in Tanzania so I better understood their context – but more importantly in the long term, to meet and begin to work with teacher educators and mathematics education researchers in the region.

In August 2018 I was able to build on that visit by working with researchers from across East Africa, who identified the development of teacher educators in the region, together with the policy-related local research capacity, as the most effort-effective focus.

You were recently in Uganda, following up on the project. How did the visit go?

I was running a course for primary mathematics teacher educators from across East Africa, alongside teachers from each of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, focusing on developing active learning with meaning-making – in ways that can be enacted in low-resource classrooms with sometimes up to 180 learners.

That took quite a lot of preparation and background work, and needs to be refined further, but was exciting, stimulating – and as always, humbling. And Uganda is such a beautiful country!

How will you measure the project’s success?

We know from a multiplicity of sources that it’s important for embedding of course learning that teacher educators and teachers take this back to their local contexts, explore, adapt and experiment with it in manageable ways; are supported to reflect on what they’re finding at frequent intervals; and gradually commit to new ways of working in collaborative ways. So all the course participants now have three months’ supported distance learning, during which they have three assignments.

Already participants are talking of the course as ‘life-changing’ for both them and their learners, but of course, the proof of any success will lie on the ground in their home contexts. Importantly, I’m also following up these teacher educators’ experiences in a systematic way together with a Ugandan mathematics education researcher, to mutual benefit since I have more research expertise than she does, but she can access participants’ experiences through use of their home language.

Along with Tanzania and Uganda, you’ve worked in countries including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Armenia and Jordan. Why do you think it’s important to work on a global scale?

Essentially, I do believe we are global citizens − and in this country, we’re exceptionally privileged in the opportunities we’ve had available to us, especially in education. So I think there’s a moral imperative to share the fruit of those opportunities. But I also believe there is always so much to be learned from working in different contexts and cultures, so that although I’ve been lucky enough to have a variety of overseas opportunities, I’ve always returned having learned at least as much as I’ve given.

Professionally, working in low-resource contexts has helped me focus on what are the essentials, the core of my work as a teacher and mathematician, and that’s been really exciting.

What’s your best memory from these global experiences?

Where to start? I think the core satisfaction has been when the mathematics has begun to make sense to teachers and teacher educators in ways they’ve not expected or experienced before.

One teacher educator in Uganda said at the end of the face to face course, ‘I had no idea there was a mathematical world out there that’s just so beautiful – and such fun’ – and if teacher educators have ‘caught’ that, there’s hope then for it to spread to young people in classrooms. That’s immensely satisfying.

Ask an Academic: Daisuke Kawata, Professor of Astronomy

Sian EGardiner5 November 2018

Daisuke Kawata is Professor of Astronomy at UCL’s Department of Space & Climate Physics, based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

He was among the recipients of the inaugural UCL-University of Toronto seed funding in 2017, to encourage collaboration between academics at the two institutions. A year on from the initial funding, we caught up with him to hear more about how the collaboration is progressing.

How did you first become interested in astronomy?

My undergraduate degree was actually in Engineering, but when computer simulations started getting bigger and bigger, I became interested in using computers to understand physics and how the universe is made up. I then became fascinated with the evolution of the Milky Way. So I moved from undergraduate Engineering to a master’s course in Astronomy, and I did a PhD in Astronomy in Japan.

Where has your research taken you?

After my post doc in Japan, I worked in Australia for about four years, and I then went to California in the USA. I worked there for three and a half years or so. Now, at UCL, I feel lucky to be part of this research-intensive institution. The research level in the UK is very high and lots of people gather in London: it’s an international environment. At the moment I’m working with colleagues in the Computer Science department, so the opportunities to work with people elsewhere in the UCL family is exciting.

You were one of the recipients of the UCL-University of Toronto seed funding for collaboration with academics at Toronto in 2017. What are you working on together?

Our research aims to understand the structure of the Milky Way, as well as how it formed and evolved. It’s quite an exciting moment for us because the European Space Agency launched a space craft called Gaia in December 2013, which is observing the motion of over a billion stars in the Milky Way, and they release intermittent data to the community so that we can use the satellite data for our research.

As you can imagine, if you’re in the forest looking out at the trees, it’s very difficult to understand how big the forest is and how the trees are distributed – and the same applies for our galaxy. You need a physical, computer model to understand the Gaia Data. So that’s what our collaboration has set up. It’s a computer simulated Milky Way model, and our hope is that this computer model will be used to picture the whole structure of the galaxy.

How did the connection with Toronto first come about?

We met Jo Bovy, my counterpart in Toronto, at a conference about the Milky Way about eight years or so ago, when he was still a PhD student. I knew him because he was making quite advanced statistical models to understand the Milky Way. I knew he was a rising star in our field, but it was two years ago when I was at one of the institutes in New York and he was doing a sabbatical there that we were able to spend a week in the same location and really discuss this modelling technique, ‘Made-to-measure.’

We talked about advancing this computer simulation model, which my PhD student Jason hunt and I had already made a prototype of. We had an intense discussion with Jo on how we could improve it and made a big road map for how we could do so. So that was the starting point, almost two years ago.

What was the outcome of your recent visit to Toronto?

We visited at the beginning of October, and had a series of meetings almost every day, which meant lots of discussion time. We came up with ideas for improving the Made-to-measure technique and other ideas about using Gaia Data to understand the structure of the galaxy. We also started working on some papers together.

Do you have advice for anyone who hasn’t collaborated on such a global scale before? How do you make an international partnership work?

Conferences are always a good starting point – with a couple of hundred people there, there are plenty of people to talk to. And tea time is a good time to start! The next step is, if you’ve met a scientist you want to work with, try and spend an extended period of time at the same location to talk about a specific topic.

What are next steps for the project with Toronto?

We’re going to try and apply this Made-to-measure model to the Gaia Data. Before this application we will try to understand it in a more local neighbourhood: we still don’t know much dark matter is around us, and using this technique we hope we can get more accurate measurements of the dark matter density in the solar neighbourhood.

UCL film collaboration in India featured at Bloomsbury Festival 2017

JasonLewis20 October 2017

Bloomsbury Festival is is a five-day celebration of the area’s pioneering creativity. A recent collaboration between UCL’s Theo Bryer and Rebecca Wilson and partners in India was among work featured at this year’s festival, which ran from 18-22 October.

UCL Institute of Education’s Theo Bryer and Rebecca Wilson ran drama and filmmaking sessions with young people in and around Bengaluru for two weeks in July 2017, as part of a project supported by the UCL Global Engagement Funds.

Theo and Rebecca meeting with meeting Ms Kalpana Singh (L), head of Parikrma Humanity Foundation

Theo and Rebecca meeting with meeting Ms Kalpana Singh (L), head of Parikrma Humanity Foundation

They collaborated with Sangam, a local education centre, and worked with young people from Parikrma Humanity Foundation School, Delhi Public School and Baale Mane girls’ home.

Together the team ran a series of workshops, developed for groups of thirty, after which the participants were invited to produce short films in small groups.

Lecturer Theo and ICT Teaching Support Analyst Rebecca said they were particularly interested in finding out how approaches to filmmaking using iPads worked in these very different contexts.

“We were given a very warm reception in all our partner organisations” said Theo. “Sharing ideas with the incredible teachers, educationalists and young people that we met was a highlight of this trip.”

Filming a Melodrama at Parikrma Humanity Foundation School

Filming a Melodrama at Parikrma Humanity Foundation School

Students at Parikrma Humanity Foundation made melodramas based on the stimulus of the arrival of a letter.

At Delhi Public School, they made documentaries based on the model of the AJ+ news items (made by Al Jazeera) that are designed for social media.

At Baale Mane girls’ home, the older girls made melodramas and the younger girls, horror films.

Theo and Rebecca also made three films with a group of homeschooled children based in the local area.

“We were struck by the way in which the visual and cultural aspects of filmmaking facilitated this creative endeavour, so that even the youngest children were able to understand what was expected of them,” added Rebecca.

Filming a documentary about skirt length at Delhi Public School

Filming a documentary about skirt length at Delhi Public School

The outcomes of the project were largely positive. Theo noted: “The touch-screen technology proved as accessible in India as in our projects in the UK, although not all the children have ready access to this kind of technology – not all of them own phones, for example.

“All the young people seemed motivated by the opportunity to share what they had made with their peers, carers and teachers and this awareness of a final audience helped them to shape their work in specific ways.”

Filming a horror film at Baale Mane girls’ home

Filming a horror film at Baale Mane girls’ home

Theo said a total of 24 films were made.

“One of our favourites, Perceptions, is 36 seconds long.

“We suggest that you watch Valuables, Perceptions and The Mummy 2 as examples from each of the places that we worked in.”

 

UCL-HKU collaborations offer solutions to the world’s Grand Challenges

GuestBlogger25 September 2017

By Greg Tinker, Communications Manager, Office of the Vice-Provost (Research)

A new partnership between UCL and Hong Kong University (HKU) was established during academic year 2016-17 to encourage joint research relating to the UCL Grand Challenges.

The joint scheme encourages cooperative projects on pressing global issues, as identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Its highlighted priorities include urbanisation and sustainable cities, healthy ageing, global health, translational medicine, food and water safety and security, transformative technology, transcultural studies including China studies, and justice and equality.

UCL’s Grand Challenges programme – addressing Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding, Human Wellbeing, Transformative Technology and Justice & Equality – provides an inter-institutional strategic framing for the joint scheme.

The first awards were made in April this year, to two projects:

  • ‘Writing in the City’ – to Professor Li Wei of the Culture, Communication and Media department at the UCL Institute of Education, collaborating with Professor Adam Jaworski at HKU’s School of English
  • ‘Non-pharmacological interventions in dementia’ – to Dr Aimee Spector, of UCL Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, collaborating with Dr Gloria HY Wong and Professor Terry YS Lum of HKU’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration

Dr Spector has already begun work on her project, focusing on treatments like Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for dementia sufferers. The collaboration will result in a conference in Hong Kong to be held in December, featuring presenters from China, Hong Kong, the US, New Zealand, Italy, Brazil and Denmark. It will also include CST training for attendees from around the world.

The joint UCL – HKU team has also been working on a joint publication, involving a systematic review of Mindfulness-based interventions for people with cognitive impairment. The collaboration has built a close relationship between Dr Spector and her HKU counterparts, leading to exchanges of doctoral students between London and Hong Kong. The students will benefit from working and studying abroad and their engagement will hopefully lead to further joint publications.

Dr Ian Scott, Director of the UCL Grand Challenges and cross disciplinary development, said: “It’s good to know that the first projects in UCL’s joint scheme with Hong Kong University are making great progress. At UCL we are confident that there will be strong downstream research and societal benefits from bringing UCL and HKU researchers together to address globally significant issues from London and Hong Kong perspectives.

“The HKU-UCL joint scheme holds promise to be an important model for other international strategic partnerships between UCL and other world-class universities like HKU, framed by a mutual determination to harness the best expertise in the world in actions designed to prepare now for the challenges of the 22nd  century.

“While the 2016-17 UCL-HKU projects are still in progress, we look forward to the outcome of the current call for the next proposals for joint work in academic year 2017-18, to support further high quality joint initiatives in tackling and finding novel pathways to solutions to the world’s Grand Challenges.”

Innovative approaches to faculty exchange: UCL MAPS and SNU

JasonLewis25 July 2017

UCL Professor Nikos Konstantinidis (Vice-Dean International, MAPS) recently facilitated a new student exchange with Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea, with support from UCL Study Abroad.

The students will work with each institution’s academics on their ongoing research projects, learning more about the local culture and research landscape.

In this short video, he explains how the exchange came about and considers the opportunities available to UCL faculties wanting to develop similar links with international institutions.

Filmed and edited by UCL graduate Jason Lewis.

The idea was sparked during a fruitful visit to UCL by a delegation from SNU in December 2016.

Nikos was able to explore the possibility further during a GEO-supported visit to SNU in January 2017. It was then that talks were finalised and an agreement was made to trial the exchange between the two physics departments, with scope for extending to others.

UCL Study Abroad worked in collaboration with colleagues from Physics and Astronomy at UCL and SNU, to ensure that there was a framework in place to support the research exchange.

The team provided support to the participating students through pre-departure guidance and continues to offer support to the students while they are abroad.

Commenting on the support available from UCL to facilitate such exchanges, Nikos said: “It was originally thanks to the Global Leadership Funds from the Global Engagement Office that I covered my expenses for my visit to Seoul. Also, it is thanks to the same funds that we were able to find some bursaries for the three students from the UCL department of Physics and Astronomy who are currently in Seoul. If there is interest and we have enough funds, we will extend this to other departments.”

He added: “I think there is a lot of interest from our students wanting to take up this type of opportunities, and we should really try our best to pursue these types of opportunities with universities of good reputation.”

Owain Evans, Short Mobilities Coordinator at UCL Study Abroad, said: “The feedback we have received from the students so far has been extremely positive; we look forward to hearing more about their experiences at SNU and in Seoul when they return to London at the end of the summer.”

The Global Leadership Funds are provided to UCL’s academic leadership network of Vice-Deans International and Regional Pro-Vice-Provosts to deliver activity aligned with the Global Engagement Strategy.

  • To explore international undergraduate research opportunities on behalf of the students in your department through existing or new collaborations, contact UCL Study Abroad on studyabroad@ucl.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 3108 7773.

Second Year of UK – Mexico Visiting Chair Mobility Grants

ClareBurke30 May 2017

The Consortium of Higher Education Institutions that are part of the United Kingdom-Mexico Visiting Chair (UK-MX Visiting Chair) are pleased to announce the launch of this year’s Mobility Grants scheme.

The UK – Mexico Visiting Chair scheme provides mobility funding for a research visit of up to two weeks to visit a new potential collaborator within a Consortium of 12 Mexican and 12 UK universities. A full list of participating Mexican institutions can be found in the Guidance Notes.

The scheme was created with the support of Mexican and UK governments to increase research collaboration and strengthen relations between HEIs in Mexico and the UK. UCL researchers interested in working with partners in Mexico can apply for funding to support their collaboration.

To be eligible, applicants need to hold a doctorate degree in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) or Social Sciences and Humanities as well as being employed by any of the HEIs included in the scheme.

Activities accepted and encouraged include attendance at workshops, research symposia and conferences, as well as meetings to scope collaboration, share best practice or develop new initiatives. Please note: there is a minimum requirement to spend at least four days at the allocated HEI.

Costs covered under the scheme include flights, accommodation, workspace, insurance, internal travel and incidental expenses.

How to apply

Applicants must read the Guidance Notes in full before completing the research project proposal form. They will need to list their top three possible destinations for their proposed visit to Mexico – this should include confirmation from the host academic/department in each institution.

Applications should be submitted to Clare Burke by 17.00 on Friday 18 August 2017. They must be made in English and include the documents below:

a.    A completed research project proposal form
b.    Curriculum vitae, including relevant publications
c.    Confirmation from the host institution

The results will be announced on Monday 2 October by email and published online thereafter.

Applicants should be aware that if successful, the location of their placement will depend on finalisation by the Commissions of both their home country and that of their partner.

UCL Research Catalyst Award Winners – 2016/17

JasonLewis4 April 2017

UCL Research Catalyst Award Winners – 2016/17

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Santander Universities Research Catalyst Awards!

We wish our UCL colleagues best of luck, and look forwarding to seeing the outcomes of these exciting collaborations.

Here’s the full list of winners:

UCL Award Winner      UCL Department           Partner Institution(s)
Arroyo-Kalin, Manuel Institute of Archaeology Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Attanasio, Orazio Economics Universidad de Los Andes
Beeken, Rebecca Behavioural Science & Health University of Guadalajara
Boano, Camillo Development Planning Unit Universidad Católica del Norte; Universidad de Chile;  Universidad Alberto Hurtado
Drinot, Paulo Institute of the Americas Universidad Nacional de Quilmes
Edwards, Stephen Earth Sciences La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Heinrich, Michael School of Pharmacy UNAM, Méxcio, D.F; Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición “Salvador Zubirán”
Heywood, Wendy ICH Genetics & Genomic Medicine, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health Universidade Federal de Pernambuco;  Real Hospital Português; GSK – Latin America & Caribbean; Hospital das Clínicas de Porto Alegre
Mindell, Jennifer Epidemiology & Public Health Various (Brazil; Chile; Colombia)
Murcio, Roberto Geography UNAM; Universidad de Pamplona
Ortiz, Catalina Bartlett Development Planning Unit National University of Colombia;  University of Los Andes
Phelps, Nicholas Bartlett School of Planning Universidad Catolica del Norte
Prieto-Garcia, Jose School of Pharmacy Universidad de La Plata
Schuster, Christian Political Science National School of Public Administration (ENAP); Federal University of Minas Gerais and National School of Public Administration (ENAP)
Sulu, Michael Biochemical Engineering Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua

 

The Santander Universities Research Catalyst Awards, in line with UCL’s Global Engagement Strategy, seeks to engender innovative research collaborations between UCL and universities and research institutions abroad.

While the Research Catalyst Awards focuses solely on collaborations with universities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, UCL provides various other global engagement funding opportunities for its academics and researchers.

 

UCL and the French Embassy: fostering interdisciplinary research

JasonLewis31 March 2017

UCL and French Embassy logosUCL and the French Embassy share a longstanding impactful partnership with the aim of fostering the co-production of innovative insights into how to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

This partnership has resulted in a number of collaborative initiatives that have provided platforms for cross-disciplinary research collaboration between UCL scholars and leading French academics and researchers. These initiatives are largely driven by UCL’s Grand Challenges programme, allowing for interdisciplinary collaboration in the development of societally relevant interventions.

Here are a few examples of UCL/French Embassy initiatives that seek both to build on existing links, and to stimulate new ones between UCL and French academic and higher education organisations such as French universities, Grand Écoles and research organisations:

UCL / French Embassy Funding for Arts, Humanities and Social Science Workshops

This co-operative scheme, which is currently calling for proposals, commenced in 2013 and has been extended to July 2019. Around £2,500 per workshop is available for academics and researchers seeking to organise workshops in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. This initiative seeks to encourage junior and senior scholars to establish new directions for possible research collaborations – not only in their own areas of expertise, but also across disciplines. The deadline for applications is 26 April 2017.

Conférence-débat lecture series

The annual Conférence-débat lecture series, started in 2010, brings together eminent French academics and UCL’s finest minds to discuss topics such as ‘The State of Nature’, ‘Towards Decarbonised Economies’, and ‘Climate Governance, post COP21 agreement’. These deeply insightful and engaging evening joint lectures have also involved afternoon workshops designed with the aim of facilitating potential collaboration between the visiting French research team and the team from UCL.

Collaborative Science & Technology Workshop competition

The Collaborative S&T Workshop competition, initiated in 2012, calls for proposals from leading academics and senior researchers to hold workshops at UCL that address a related challenge at the frontiers of either basic or applied science, one of UCL’s Grand Challenges, or a European Commission thematic programme.

In accordance with a 2012-signed Memorandum of Understanding between UCL and the French Embassy, the Embassy has generously provided up to €22,500 in annual grants to support five cycles of the S&T workshops. The main aim of this annual event is to strengthen existing links between UCL and French academic and research organisations, and to create a platform that fosters the development of new approaches for potential research collaborations across Europe.