Enterprise is important to all universities, but resonates particularly with UCL. An increasingly important strand of this is consultancy, which provides a way for UCL to share its knowledge with the public and private sectors, producing a direct impact on society as well as generating income.

UCL launched its consultancy arm in 2003, creating a more formal structure for academic consultancy work which until then had been done on an ad hoc basis between academics and their clients.

Over the past three years, we have grown rapidly as more companies, not for profit organisations and governments seek access to the university’s academic expertise. The expansion is built not just on rising external demand but also greater internal capacity and institutional appetite to respond to this.

The latter has been driven by a growing awareness by the academic community of the benefits of consultancy activity in demonstrating the impact of their research, contributing to ongoing research interests, developing relationships, raising profile and generating income.

While we look to develop consultancy propositions to meet market needs, we also seek out opportunities to capitalise on the university’s wide-ranging academic expertise.

Our strategy focuses on ‘making it easy’. UCLC provides the full project lifecycle support of opportunity identification and development, costing and pricing, proposal preparation, contracting, project management and finance services, to make it easy and rewarding for academics to undertake consultancy and for external clients to engage with us.

Both the volume and value of consultancy activity handled by UCLC has more than doubled to over 1200 academics registered and over £10m annual turnover. The value of funds returned to UCL has also risen more than twofold.

As we continue to expand, our focus is increasingly on project consultancy, where we draw together multidisciplinary teams of experts to provide the best solution to solve clients’ complex problems. This approach also aligns well with UCL’s focus on Grand Challenges, which are the mechanisms through which expertise from across UCL and beyond can be brought together to address the world’s key problemsin themes such as Global Health and Sustainable Cities.

We also work closely with colleagues across UCL to align our strategy with the wider UCL Research, Enterprise and Global Engagement strategies which underpin the UCL 2034 vision and strategy.

Among the projects which we have been involved with is the Cities Changing Diabetes Partnership which linked UCL academics with leading Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. The research, which was led by UCL, shows that socio-cultural factors including time pressure, commuting time and where you live play significant roles in diabetes vulnerability.

In addition to academic consultancy, we support expert witness advice, including patent disputes and forensic services, testing and analysis using UCL’s laboratories and research facilities, and bespoke training and short courses, on which UCL Consultants works closely with the UCL Life Learning team.

For further information on UCL Consultants and our services, please see our website www.uclconsultants.com or contact us on info@uclconsultants.com

Roger de Montfort joined UCL Consultants as Managing Director in 2013 from professional services firm PwC.

Case study

UCL launches academic collaboration with Egypt’s New Giza University

UCL launched this year an academic collaboration with the recently established New Giza University in Egypt to develop and deliver high quality undergraduate medicine, dentistry and pharmacy programmes in the Cairo region. The contract was negotiated by UCL Consultants.Pooling expertise from theUCL Medical School, UCL School of Pharmacy andUCL Eastman Dental Institute, the UCL team will collaborate with their New Giza colleagues in providing advice on the strategic planning, organisation, development and quality assurance of three new undergraduate programmes. Professor Deborah Gill, Director of the UCL Medical School, said:

“Education consultancy is one of the ways in which UCL academic and professional services staff can create lasting and meaningful impact globally by supporting fellow healthcare educators to realise their ambition to provide education for health professionals. This will prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of contemporary practice and produces graduates who have the capabilities and drive to create significant health gain wherever they practice.”