Ahead of the academic year, UCL President & Provost Dr Michael Spence has confirmed several changes to senior leadership team reporting lines and the teams that sit under individual Vice-Provost portfolios.
These changes are to ensure that those teams doing similar work are located together and apply particularly to those supporting health research and partnerships, to the Research and Innovation Services team and to teams in Libraries, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS).
Professor David Lomas stepped down from his role as Vice-Provost (Health) at the end of August 2023 to facilitate this change. We are enormously grateful to him for his huge and important contribution to the profile and impact of health-related research at UCL in the institutional leadership roles he has undertaken. He has played a key role in the university’s senior leadership team for many years and his particular strengths in building relationships and brokering partnerships have been hugely valuable to UCL and to the local and national health networks of which he has been a member.
We are very pleased to say that David continues at UCL as Professor of Medicine/Honorary Consultant Physician and will focus on his research interests of antitrypsin deficiency, the serpinopathies and COPD, along with ongoing clinical responsibilities.
Following David’s departure, the teams in OVPH that support research, clinical trials and staff career development will move to join their counterparts under the Research Innovation & Global Engagement (RIGE) portfolio. The partnerships and engagement teams for Health will move into the President & Provost’s Office as a Health Partnerships team; they will also continue to work closely with the faculties on major strategic projects. The President & Provost will take a more significant and active role in UCL’s relationships with key NHS and medical partners, including as a member of the Board of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. This means that there will no longer be an office of the Vice-Provost (Health), but the establishment of a Health team in the Provost’s office will ensure co-ordination across the entire senior leadership team as we advocate for, and champion, our strengths in health research across our medical faculties as well as the university more broadly. Additionally, the Deans of the Faculties of Population Health Sciences, Medical Sciences and Brain Sciences (Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, Professor Mark Emberton and Professor Alan Thompson) will take a key role in leading day-to-day liaison with partner hospitals and health stakeholders. A Transition Board is being established to oversee the changes.
Health research, translation and education will always be fundamental to this university, and our aim in making these changes is to ensure that the excellent work currently being carried out within the Health teams have the widest reach across all areas of the university and beyond.
Research and Innovation Senior academic champions for Equity & Inclusion, Policy Engagement and Sustainability
We are also working to strengthen the senior leadership team with a number of new appointments as academic champions for areas of strategic importance. Pro-Provosts are senior members of staff who are seconded in for a proportion of their time to act as an advisor to the Provost and the leadership team on specific issues and to provide academic stewardship for our institutional work on those issues. We currently have Pro-Provosts for UCL East, London and the Bicentennial.
We are delighted to have recently appointed Professor Alison Koslowski as Pro-Provost (Equity & Inclusion) who takes up her post in October. The role provides invaluable additional academic leadership to support the Provost’s Office, as well as the Director of EDI, on key questions of equity and inclusion. Professor Koslowski is Professorial Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit in Ioe’s Social Research Institute. As well as a huge passion for challenging prejudice and inequality, she brings to this role a significant track record of data-informed EDI-related academic research, in particular in the context of the labour market, parental care and gender equality.
We advertised internally earlier in the year for a Pro-Provost (Policy Engagement), who will be a senior academic champion for our work with local, national and international policymakers. The successful candidate will work closely with the Vice-President (External Engagement), the Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation and Global Engagement), the London office and the Provost’s office to ensure that we are capitalising effectively on the strong relationships we are building across government for our researchers, as well as for our external profile. We hope to make this appointment early in the autumn term.
We are also planning to advertise a Pro-Provost (Sustainability) role later in the autumn term. This will be a senior academic champion for sustainability across the full range of UCL’s activities. On behalf of the President & Provost, they will work closely with our Sustainability team and the university leadership team to advocate for research-informed approaches to operational sustainability, and to champion sustainability as a key consideration in all major institutional projects. They will also have close links to the Grand Challenges team.
Together, all these changes should build the capacity that we need to deliver on the commitments in the UCL Strategic Plan 2022-27. They will enable us to provide more integrated support for some of our world-leading multi and interdisciplinary strengths and to align our core support functions so that like activities can benefit from consolidation together.
We will continue to encourage engagement from staff into the future delivery of these areas and are working locally to create discussion sessions and opportunities for input for staff in these teams.
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