As a leading anchor institution within East London since 1889, our Civic Engagement Team and Research & Knowledge Exchange units provide the principal point of contact with local government and other public, private and voluntary sector organisations to ensure our teaching and research is relevant and impactful.

For example, the Institute for Health and Human Development leads on work with health authorities and communities and the Sustainability Research Institute leads on work with local councils and businesses.

In the 2020 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, based on metrics relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the University ranked 1st in the UK (world: 2nd) for SDG10 Reduced Inequalities and Inclusion; 2nd in the UK (world 8th) for SDG5 Gender Equality; and 8th in the UK (world 56th) for SDG4, Quality Education. 


Developing the low carbon energy economy across the East of England

In collaboration with Barking Riverside Ltd accelerate new innovations in the market through Ecology Centre and Urban Ecology Living Lab.

Our Sustainability Research Institute is leading two major regeneration projects with £11.2m funding from ERDF/ESIF (2019-2022). The 'Eastern New Energy' (ENE) project aims to develop the low carbon energy economy across the East of England in collaboration with LEPs in Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough, Hertfordshire and New Anglia. This involves working with more than 400 SMEs in the region to increase the production and local consumption of renewable energy; increase the region's energy efficiency; enhance the capacity of the local supply chain and accelerate the rate of innovation and local ownership of energy assets. The 'Advancing Resource Efficiency and Urban Ecology Innovations' (ARENA) project is a partnership with Barking Riverside Ltd (BRL). BRL is a joint venture between the GLA and L&Q delivering 11,000 homes with associated infrastructure. The project aims to accelerate innovation by providing market knowledge, in-lab technical validation and real-world demonstration and assessment at the new Ecology Centre and Urban Ecology Living Lab at Barking Riverside.

The regeneration project (ARENA) led by the Sustainability Research Institute has delivered a number of its 40 targeted Innovative Research and Development outputs with London based SMEs and associated partner industries.

We have 16 SMEs currently registered and receiving expert scientific and business development advice and 22 additional businesses in the innovations pipeline awaiting business needs assessment and registration to the relevant area of expertise.

The businesses assisted include SMEs with novel technology relating to the innovation and demonstration of a smart irrigation system based on moisture sensors that can be deployed in a range of green infrastructure and urban agricultural scenarios, new green roof design to address carbon markets including an alternative drainage/reservoir layer for improved green roof system design and the architectural use of moss walls to provide air pollution improvement benefits for urban communities.

Innovative digital-care technology to support vulnerable people isolated by COVID-19 across the UK

Working with Local Authorities and NHS providers to put the voice of disabled people at the heart of regional health and care services.

Our RIX Centre led an innovative response to the pandemic, winning the NHS TechForce19 competition to deploy technology for vulnerable people isolated by COVID-19 across the UK. East London's Redbridge Borough is now a focus for whole-system trial adoption of this RIX post-pandemic digital-care solution.

The Centre has evidenced improved wellbeing for service-users and improved quality and efficiency for support services, the work is gaining global recognition.

See more on the RIX website. 

RIX lights up Times Square in New York City

UEL's RIX Centre co-developed digital tools with learning disabled citizens, their families and communities, working with Local Authorities and NHS providers to put the voice of disabled people at the heart of regional health and care services. The centre was established with over £2 million investment from corporate sponsors and grant-funders and has pioneered digital health and care solutions with the local East London community since 2014.

The Centre has pioneered a 'multimedia advocacy' approach to health and social care for people with learning disabilities as part of a knowledge-exchange programme promoting social inclusion and challenging health inequality. The resulting RIX Wiki software has secured over £300k revenue from 13 local government contracts across the UK since 2017 and has been selected by the NHS National Innovation Accelerator to scale-up health-service adoption nationally.

Find out more on the RIX website

'Well communities' An innovative framework to facilitating the co-creation of solutions for disadvantaged communities

Our Institute for Health and Human Development (IHHD) designed an innovative framework called 'Well Communities', facilitating the co-creation of solutions for disadvantaged communities to improve health and wellbeing, build resilience and reduce inequalities.

The framework has been developed over three phases with 40 London neighbourhoods across 20 London boroughs and was supported initially by Big Lottery funding valued at 12 million. Now in its third phase and renamed 'Communities Driving Change', it has been repurposed by Tower Hamlets Council Public Health Team to help and support vulnerable people isolated by COVID-19.

The work with Newham CCG resulted in developing the Primary Care Home infrastructure to help identify and shield the most vulnerable residents in Newham isolated by COVID-19.

The 'Communities Driving Change' programme led by our IHHD institute designed a 'health creation' platform for Tower Hamlets Council Public Health Team. The platform improves the health of communities by identifying issues impacting health & well-being, recruiting volunteers and developing new ways to improve the health and well-being of local people.

The programme operates in the 12 most deprived neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets. The level of engagement with the community within a six months period resulted in 259 volunteers, 2,967 residents attended events, 827 resident-led activities have been initiated, 56 residents have attended training around building capacity in their communities and 176 young people have been involved.

 View the Well London video

Knowledge alliance bringing together UEL, London councils and the London Borough of Newham

Continuum, the UEL centre for widening participation policy studies, has been the lead partner in a major knowledge alliance which brings together UEL, London councils and the London Borough of Newham to provide an annually commissioned data commentary insight into the journey of young people into the labour market.

Drawing exclusively on key data from HESA this work delivers an evidence-based commentary on the journey of young London residents to higher education and progression to the labour market. This commissioned work examines different aspects of this journey including achievement in higher education as well as the employment and education destination of London's young learners including socially disadvantaged learners.

The 'Higher Education Journey of Young London Residents' report produced by our Continuum centre is used by London Councils as an evidence-based tool providing annually updated insights customised for each of the 33 local authority partners in respect of their HE progression trends. Feedback and referencing from the report user groups further demonstrates the extent to which it has impacted on wider stakeholder and policy groups including the GLA, HE community, employers and internationally as a City/University partnership model in Sweden.

Find out more on the London Council website.

Redesign prisons in collaboration with Ministry of Justice and architectural companies to improve health, wellbeing and rehabilitation of prisoners

In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and architectural companies, academics in the Department of Architecture supported a major project to 'Redesign Prisons' to improve health and wellbeing, rehabilitation, reduce reoffending and make the state assets of land and buildings more effective in delivering outcomes.  The project was part of the Ministry of Justice 'Prison Transformation Programme' to tackle the £10bn per annum cost of prisoner reoffending. The work was based on responses from 305 prisoners in Britain's newest prison HMP Berwyn and helped to design and implement what is believed to be the world's first electronic survey of the effects of prison architecture completed by a large group of residents within a prison.

We have also worked with the Prison Education Trust to deliver a 'game development' education programme based in 'ISIS Young Offenders' Institute located within the grounds of Belmarsh Prison. The aim of the project was for the young offenders to publish games during the programme and develop the skills to either continue onto further study or work as part of an independent game development company. 

Our 'Redesign Prisons' project contributed to the Ministry of Justice's baseline model for commissioning the new wave of modern prisons, focused on rehabilitation. The findings have been published in the Building Design, Architecture Today, Financial Times, Wired, FX Design Curial, Radio 4 and won the RIBA Presidents Award for Research in 2018. Additionally, our work with Prison Education Trust helped young offenders complete mobile/online games and prepare them for employment.

Support police and the criminal justice system to understand and respond to threats, opportunities and motivations presented by technology

Our Online Harms and Cybersecurity Unit within the Centre for Professional Policing was launched recently at the House of Lords and supports the police and the criminal justice system to understand and respond to threats, opportunities and motivations presented by technology.

The centre is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Commission on Cyber Security Law and secured £900k from Horizon2020 as part of an Innovation programme to provide insight into 'Youth Pathways into Cybercrime'. We have also entered partnership with London Metropolitan Police and Babcock International Group to train London police officer recruits through degree-level apprenticeships. The partnership, expected to be in place until at least 2028 holds a maximum contract value of £309 million. 

Our work in cybersecurity informed child and adult online harms and protection practice at national and international level and improved policy, industry, police and social work practice responses. This work informed EU policing practice and developed a programme raising awareness about illegal online behaviour amongst young people in 9 EU countries. It also impacted on governmental policies regarding online harm and internet service regulation in the UK and development of a child online protection policy and five year implementation plan in Rwanda. The key beneficiaries are young people and their parents/carers, vulnerable children and agencies working to protect them from online harm and policy makers in the area of child online protection and adult online harms.

Industry ready nursing courses in partnership with three major NHS trusts

In partnership with three major NHS trusts, we developed a suite of 'Industry-Ready' nursing courses recognised by the Nursing & Midwifery Council as an exceptional professional practice. This will help with the shortage of nursing in London and support the training and development of the nursing workforce.

In terms of our 'Industry-ready' nursing provision, we have been shortlisted for five awards in the Annual Student Nursing Times Awards 2020, these include:

  • Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year
  • Teaching Innovation of the Year: University of East London & North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Learning disability and mental health summer school
  • Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion: Luul Ali
  • Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion: Martin Gayle
  • Partnership of the Year

Participatory internet radio hub to support employability amongst socially excluded young people in London

In collaboration with youth organisations, Dragon Hall Trust, SydWest Multicultural Services and Newham Adolescent Mental Health Service.

We are also the anchor institution in UK for running participatory internet radio hub (RadioActive101), which is a complex intervention for engagement, non-formal learning and support employability amongst socially excluded young people in London. This work is conducted in collaboration with youth organisations, Dragon Hall Trust, SydWest Multicultural Services and Newham Adolescent Mental Health Service.

The participatory internet radio hub RadioActive101 has engaged over 680 socially excluded people since 2015 and supported the development of employability skills of young people in London. This included the employability placement for final year Music Performance students and is due to be launched as an applied project module for the new youth and communities programme. It has also led to collaborative work with the international RadioActive Europe project - from Portugal (CIMJ), Germany (UKL), the UK (Pontydysgu), Romania (ODIP) and Malta (KIC).

Support the treatment of disordered gambling in collaboration with Gordon Moody Association

In collaboration with Gordon Moody Association, the UK's only gambling specific residential treatment facility, we have conducted an extensive evaluation of their service provision to support the treatment of disordered gambling. This is an important element of urban regeneration in the context of sustainable communities.

This included identifying patterns and trends in treatment, seeking gamblers demographics, pathways into gambling addiction, predictors of treatment outcome, and more focussed analyses looking at specific subjects such as crime, suicide, alcohol use, and co-existing mental health disorders. We have looked into the efficacy of different treatment durations, within the context of financial pressures on the sector to reduce/streamline provision.

Our work in partnership with Gordon Moody Association benefited communities in South London and West Midlands, treatment seeking gamblers as well as service and support providers. We supported local and national policy makers to initiate changes to Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. We also supported the All Party Parliamentary Group with their gambling inquiry report. Our work in gambling and disordered gambling plays a key role in promoting the actions set out in the National Responsible Gambling Strategy.

Saving over 27,000 tons of C02 emissions by leading major initiatives on industry 4.0 energy effiency data centres

In collaboration with international government bodies, EU standardisation committees and industry.

Energy efficiency in data centres is one of our key knowledge exchange areas that supports Industry 4 data economy in UK and Europe. In collaboration with international government bodies, EU standardisation committees and industry we have led major initiatives with considerable impact on the environment, public policy, standards, and industry practice. We led €1.6M EU Horizon 2020 EURECA project that shed light on the state of the UK and European data centre industry, which then served as the basis for various national and international policies and practices. 

The work we initiated on Industry 4.0 energy efficiency data centres resulted in substantial energy savings in the UK and EU data centre industry and an increased workforce capacity. In our EURECA project, we worked with 10 different countries, training over 800 stakeholders and supported over 300 data centres in adopting best practices. This work also led to primary energy savings of over 131 GWh/year in data centres across Europe, equating to savings of over 27 thousand tons of CO2 emissions.

See more information on the EU Data Centre Project website.

Students conducting 'live' knowledge ecxchange projects in collaboration with Studio Bark Ltd and the RDLAC in Silvertown

In collaboration with industry, our students work on 'live' knowledge exchange projects, such as digitally designed and constructed buildings. For example, our students work with Studio Bark on self-design, self-order and self-build zero-carbon construction system using grasshopper based digital manufacturing. In collaboration with the Royal Docks Learning Activity Centre (RDLAC) in Silvertown, students build an experimental prototype educational building, solving with Studio Bark the structural design, façade and green roof details.

Our student's 'live' Knowledge Exchange building projects produced one of the first ten groundbreaking houses in Graven Hill, Bicester which was featured on Channel 4's 'Grand Designs', leading to an invitation to show a full 'U-Build' exhibition stand at the following Eco-Build at Excel, promoting 'U-Build' as a commercial system. In 2019 Studio Bark with UEL students adapted the 'U-Build' system to create 'protest architecture' for the October Extinction Rebellion in Trafalgar Square.

Students developed a series of construction options using adapted standard U-Build box elements and timed the erection, calculated fixings needed and load/stability tested each option before building the boxes and delivering to the Rebellion, facilitating peaceful protest, social gatherings, stages for public speaking and debate.

Staff and students supporting NH Nightingale Hospital - COVID-19

The University played a key role during the COVID-19 pandemic in supporting the NHS by offering accommodation and other critical support to healthcare workers at the new NHS Nightingale hospital set up in the ExCel Centre. Our staff and students have volunteered their expertise and skills at NHS Nightingale, including nursing, physiotherapy and technician teams as well as staff and students volunteering for non-clinical support.

The University engaged in 72 projects in relation to COVID-19 supporting communities and businesses affected by the pandemic.