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Events celebrate everything that’s great about UCL

The first It’s All Academic festival brought around 1,500 people to UCL last summer for a day-long extravaganza of talks, tours, performances, workshops and interactive events for all ages and interests.

The flagship event, Back the Future, brought together a range of leading academics for a lively debate on the future of everything, from crime to the human brain, hosted by TV presenter Dr Chris van Tulleken (PhD, UCL Division of Infection and Immunity 2017). With the UK’s general election having taken place just two days previously, the Constitution Unit responded with a session on After the Election – What Next?

Other highlights included: a fossil-inspired opera in the Grant Museum; a session presented by Pint of Science’s Creative Reactions on how our brains are created in the first place; and tours to discover the hidden geology in UCL’s building stones.

Alumni took advantage of a special Alumni Lounge, where they could relax with free refreshments including a highly popular pick’n’mix sweets selection.

Plans for next year’s festival are now in development and will be shared shortly.

Watch out for more at www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign/festival.


Illustration Mari Kanstad Johnsen


Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his appreciation of the ongoing collaboration between Japan and UCL, and specifically thanked UCL for its role in helping to educate students from his country dating back 150 years to the Choshu Five. Mr Abe’s comments were made at a one-to-one meeting with President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur, during the Science and Technology in Society forum in Kyoto last September.


Road use across the country could be transformed if one award-winning alumnus has anything to do with it. The proposal from Gergely Raccuja (European Social and Political Studies 2015) to replace fuel duty and vehicle excise duty with a distance-based charge – using the money raised to boost investment in roads and improve air quality – was selected from 120 entries for the 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize, worth £250,000.


Plans to make UCL the most exciting university in the world at which to study and work continue apace, with the new Student Centre, next to the Bloomsbury Theatre, due for completion in the autumn. Spread across two underground floors, four floors above ground level and a roof terrace, students will have access to 1,000 study spaces, IT clusters and a new café. The Centre also harnesses the latest in environmentally friendly technology.

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Portico Issue 4. 2017/18