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UCL prides itself on doing things differently. A cure for cancer. Revolutionary dementia research. A new approach to global prosperity. Scholarships for outstanding students. Your support, your time, your brains and your donations can make all these ideas a reality. Back the future of UCL and join the Campaign for UCL.

Words Sarah Woodward

Lori Houlihan is Vice-Provost (Development). Together with the Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, Lori will lead the philanthropic Campaign for UCL.

I am very excited about leading the campaign to support UCL through to 2034 and I get enormous job satisfaction from the pleasure people get from giving their time or money to the institution. My job, and that of my team, is to connect our alumni and global supporters to the academic community, allowing them to see the truly exciting projects under way at UCL and the many ways their money can make a difference.

This is an amazing institution doing remarkable things and we want people to know about it. Here at UCL everyone is excited and engaged in the plans for the future and now we need to spread the word so we can raise the funds to make them happen. And in the spirit of disruptive thinking, which has so long been a tradition of UCL, we aim to find new and creative ways to do so.

Philanthropy is, of course, not new to the university: it’s the way we started here nearly 200 years ago. But the need is more pressing than ever to support our ambitions through the fundraising campaign, our largest ever. We want to transform the student experience.

We want to continue to build on our leading position in the field of medical research. And we want to continue to encourage disruptive thinking – and thinkers. My challenge is to make sure we tell all these stories in the most impactful way possible so that we can build relationships with our supporters and make remarkable things happen at UCL.”




Students are our future – we want the best students to come here, whatever their background. Help us support them to change all our tomorrows with scholarships, teaching and facilities.


We are London’s biggest university and one of its biggest employers. Help us build a new campus in east London that can house our next generation of radical thinkers and create new opportunities for people living and working in our great city.


At UCL we discover the undiscovered and explore the unexplored. Your support will ensure that our staff and students can continue to develop ideas at the forefront of research and debate.


Our health research leads international efforts against cancer and dementia. Help us fight cancer and make dementia a 20th century disease.

To support your university, give online at www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign, use the enclosed donation form or contact the alumni office.

It’s humbling that people want to help our research even when they know it’s too late for them, because they know it might help the next generation


Professor Nick Fox heads the Dementia Research Centre at the Institute of Neurology in the faculty of Brain Sciences. With philanthropic support, the faculty wants to build a new Dementia Research Institute and move further and faster to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families.

“For every six researchers looking into the causes of cancer in the UK there is only one working on dementia – yet this is a disease that has a greater impact on our economy than cancer and heart disease put together. That should give us sufficient reason to support research into ways of combating dementia.

At UCL, we do receive tremendous support, from all sorts of people and places. This includes an award of £20m from the Wolfson Foundation in 2011, which funded The Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre. This Centre has already made terrific progress accelerating the development of treatments and identifying future therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases.

Most recently there was also a mammoth effort from UK retailers, brought together by Iceland’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Walker, to form the UCL Dementia Retail Partnership and give proceeds from the sale of their 5p carrier bags to UCL Dementia Research.

A lot of my own work is with familial dementia, where the disease is inherited. People develop symptoms as early as their 30s or 40s, when they typically have professional or caring responsibilities, and also have the additional burden of knowing they have a 50 per cent chance of passing it on to their children. It is often very difficult to access care for people with dementia at such a young age as most services are geared towards older people. At UCL, we have set up the country’s first support group for these families and we are also finally reaching the stage of therapeutic trials for drugs to help these families, right here in Queen Square.

It’s humbling that people want to help our research even when they know it’s too late for them, because they know it might help the next generation. These are really amazing people and we are working hard with the great neuroscience strengths at UCL to accelerate the search for treatments for these devastating diseases.”

The UCL Dementia Retail Partnership is raising funds to build a new Dementia Research Institute at UCL. You can help support this campaign: www.ucl.ac.uk/dementia/support

I was cowering at the top of the stairs of our house at the time of the quake. I didn’t think I was about to die, but I didn’t feel very safe either


Dr Naomi Saville is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Global Health. Based in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, her work focuses on maternal and child healthcare, and she is currently planning a new research project based on healthy rebuilding following last year’s earthquake.

“In the immediate aftermath of the Nepal earthquake we weren’t able to rebuild anything as the ground needed time to settle. But the rapid and generous response from the appeal to you – UCL’s alumni – meant that we were able to use our existing network of women’s groups to provide much-needed psychological support very quickly, secure in the knowledge that the funds would be there when we were able to rebuild, which is now.

Working for UCL, but living in Nepal, I can sometimes feel quite disassociated from university life. But I found it very comforting to discover that in a time of great need the UCL community cared deeply about the fate of my fellow countrymen and women.

I was cowering at the top of the stairs of our own house at the time of the quake and remember feeling it was like being on a ship on the high seas. As the house was built using rammed earth technology, I didn’t think I was about to die, though I didn’t feel particularly safe either. Now we have lots of visitors to our house as we encourage the rebuilding programme to raise money for healthy, safe houses.

The fact that I live here with my family means that I am well placed to see what needs to be done. There are still 600,000 homes to be rebuilt in Nepal, and countless schools and hospitals. I used money I had raised personally straight after the disaster to help build a first-demonstration, low-cost home and now we will put that experience to good use in injecting funds raised from UCL. And, from a personal viewpoint, having UCL funds to contribute towards community building initiatives has allowed me to volunteer my own time over and above my research work to facilitate others actually doing the much-needed rebuilding work. It’s a complicated environment here in Nepal and it is crucial that the money raised is well spent for the future.”

UCL launched a fundraising appeal for Naomi’s project following the Nepal earthquake, and 337 UCL Alumni and Friends donated more than £45,000.

We can help shape the world by attracting, educating and encouraging the very best. Which is why scholarships are so important


Professor David Coen is Director of the School of Public Policy and Head of the Department of Political Science, a role in which he oversees a large student cohort. He is closely involved in seeking funding for scholarships to broaden the department’s outreach.

“It is our aim at UCL to be as inclusive as possible and to broaden our outreach – in that way we can help shape the world by attracting, educating and encouraging the very best. But in order to be able to attract the best and brightest we rely on support from outside funding.

Which is why scholarships, such as that recently established by The Pentland Group, with the support of its Chairman, Stephen Rubin, for students from the global south to study for our Global Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA), are so important. Lydia Tesfaye, the current holder, came here from her job as Chief of Staff for the State Minister at the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia, a post to which she will be returning after her studies. Meanwhile she is spending a term here at UCL, a term at New York University and a term based on a client project, an opportunity which, coming from such a poor country, would not have been open to her without outside help.

UCL’s American alumni have also recently funded a scholarship for an American to study on the EMPA programme, as have the Fulbright Foundation for a British student. The first recipient of the US scholarship is Ariella Rojhani from New York City. She came from a post as Senior Advocacy Manager for the NCD Alliance, a global network of civil society organisations that work together to combat non-communicable diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and dementia), the major cause of death and disability worldwide.

It’s early days of course but our hope is that by supporting such people we will enhance future policy debate and implementation. But giving back is not just about money. We learn a lot from our alumni who come back to tell us about their experiences. It’s good to know that our students return to the outside world better equipped to fulfil their role in society.”

UCL Alumni have volunteer groups all over the world, including New York, Beijing, Greece, France and Hong Kong. To join a group please visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/alumni

I am researching the links between legal homophobia and its manifestations in public discourse. UCL has given me the freedom, breadth and choice in my research


Jack Kiely is a current Wolfson Scholar studying for his doctorate on the History of Homophobia in France 1942-2013.

“I don’t think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that the scholarship has changed my life. Without it, the financial pressures would have been too great. From a young age I had always been attracted to academic research and was encouraged by my chemistry teacher at school in Lincolnshire, who had done a PhD, and inspired me about the possibilities.

I was the first from my nuclear family to go to university and the language and culture of France had always fascinated me but, to be honest, I thought it would end there. And then I discovered that through the generosity of others there was outside funding available to support my research.

I had spent a year abroad, in Rouen, as an undergraduate, a few years before the protests in France against gay marriage, and the idea for my thesis started fermenting then. My dissertation for my MA at UCL was on the intersection between homophobia and racism in France – a huge topic. I am researching the links between legal homophobia and its manifestations in public discourse in France, and having the scholarship has given me greater freedom, breadth and choice in my research. It has been very liberating, allowing me to physically get hold of published material, travel back and forth to France, and exchange ideas with colleagues and contemporaries.

By demonstrating the very real presence of homophobia in France today, my intention is that my research will have important social relevance. The Wolfson Foundation have supported me in so many ways, not just financially but by taking a genuine interest in my work and helping me reach a wider audience. I only hope that I can live up to the trust they have put in me. I cannot stress enough how incredibly grateful I am for the scholarship and the difference it has made not only to my life, but hopefully to the lives of others who may follow in my research footsteps.”

If you would like more information on how to help UCL support student scholarships, please visit our website at: www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign

  • Contents 2016/17Contents 2016/17
  • DeconstructedDeconstructed
  • InboxInbox
  • Two new grand challengesTwo new grand challenges
  • Free RadicalFree Radical
  • UCL a “global university”UCL a “global university”
  • Jeremy Bentham SpeaksJeremy Bentham Speaks
  • Extra CurricularExtra Curricular
  • The Strong RoomThe Strong Room
  • CloisteredCloistered
  • Follow the CrowdFollow the Crowd
  • A Time to GiveA Time to Give
  • How to Build a BrainHow to Build a Brain
  • Next MachinaNext Machina
  • Social AnimalsSocial Animals
  • What Janani, Sarah and Adam did nextWhat Janani, Sarah and Adam did next
  • The power of philanthropyThe power of philanthropy
  • This idea must dieThis idea must die
  • London  vs  WorldLondon vs World
Portico Issue 3. 2016/17