UQ and the United Kingdom

Building healthier and happier communities

UQ's close relationship with the UK is marked by institutional bonds, aligned research interests, and significant student mobility. The Wellcome Trust, University of Oxford, University College of London, and University of Exeter are among the key institutions to back UQ-led research, ensuring innovation continues well into the future.

Fast facts


UK students enrolled at UQ


UK-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in the UK


research project collaborations


alumni in the UK


agreements with 17 official partners



We have partnered with UK-based researchers on more than 3,500 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key areas including ecology, genetics and heredity, neurosciences, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental sciences. Our top co-publishing partners are the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University College of London, University of Cambridge, and Kings College London.

Research collaborations

UQ has collaborated with 65 UK-based institutions on 171 UQ research projects since 2012. Our top research partners include the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Nottingham, Imperial College London, and University College London, covering a range of research topics from international relations, to psychology, neuroscience, conservation, and metals.

Research funding

UQ has received more than AUD 18 million (10.6 million GPB) from UK organisations since 2012. 50 UK organisations – including the Wellcome Trust, Worldwide Cancer Research, and International Association of Oil & Gas Producers – have supported more than 60 projects.

Collaboration in action

Crowd-sourcing to combat superbugs

The threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to rise, but the number of new treatments available has flatlined. This has placed us dangerously close to a return to the pre-antibiotic era, when even simple infections caused death. A critical bottleneck to discovering new antibiotics is the limited chemical diversity screened for antimicrobial activity. The UQ-led Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (CO-ADD) seeks to overcome this challenge by screening compounds for academic research groups for free – helping researchers worldwide find new compounds to combat drug-resistant infections. CO-ADD has been recognised as a novel approach in the fight against superbugs by the UK's Wellcome Trust, which has provided AUD 4.8 million (2.8 million GBP) of funding.

Virus inspires new way to deliver cancer drugs

Drugs disguised as viruses are providing new weapons in the battle against cancer, promising greater accuracy and fewer side effects than chemotherapy. Researchers at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) have designed a virus-like nanoparticle (VNP) that could deliver drugs directly to the cells where they are needed. Made from the structural proteins that form the virus’s protective shell, the VNP looks like a virus, but is not infectious. The research also involves collaborators from UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience and Institute of Molecular Bioscience, as well the UK's John Innes Centre. It is funded by the Australian Research Council, the UK Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the John Innes Foundation.

Breaking the cycle of disadvantage

UQ is tackling the intergenerational cycle of deep and persistent disadvantage within families, as well as the growing divide between high and low income earners. The Life Course Centre – which is headquartered at UQ's Institute for Social Science Research – collaborates with partner investigators from Royal Holloway, University of London; the London School of Economics and Political Science; the University of Essex; University College London; the University of Cambridge; and the University of Bristol on a range of issues including fertility, welfare dependency, and the effect of home locations on children's development. Running from 2014-2021, the project is worth around AUD 20 million (11.8 million GBP).

UQ and Exeter cement global partnership

UQ and the University of Exeter have partnered to bolster their joint global research impact. As part of a wide-reaching agreement, the universities have established the QUEX Institute, which will focus on environmental sustainability, healthy ageing, physical activity, and nutrition, and act as a cross-continental think-tank to engage with industry, research organisations, governments, and funders worldwide. Operating as a ‘virtual’ institute QUEX will also promote opportunities for academics to conduct collaborative research at both universities, facilitated through specified and targeted investment. The agreement includes new PhD programs for high achieving doctoral students at both institutions.

UK backs motor neurone disease research

UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) has received an initial gift of GBP 9,000 (AUD 15,600) from The Halpin Trust UK to fund environmental data collection for motor neurone disease (MND) research. Impressed by the quality of the proposal and the globally competitive reputation of IMB’s genomics labs, the trustees have indicated they will consider a major or principal gift in 2018 depending on research outcomes. This is the first gift the Trust has made outside the UK, and its first to MND research. In March 2017, UQ researchers announced the anti-inflammatory drug PMX205 is effective in animals with MND, delaying the progression of symptoms and extending survival.

Skin cancer technology promises early diagnosis

Dr Yah Leng Lim (pictured), of UQ's School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE), has developed a prototype for a laser-based imaging technology that can identify unhealthy skin cells and aid in the early diagnosis of cancer. The technology could take the judgment call out of visual inspections and improve existing technology where one in five skin cancers go undetected. Dr Yah Leng Lim is working with researchers at the University of Leeds to improve the world-class laser technology, and will soon conduct clinical trials in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. Queensland has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, with more than 350,000 people treated each year. Despite advances in treatment, the best predictor for survival is early detection.

UK students at UQ

The UK is among the top 25 countries of origin for UQ students. Excluding official student exchanges, 194 UK students enrolled in UQ degrees in the past 5 years, with PhD studies, Executive Leadership, and the Bachelor of Arts being the most popular program choices.

Video: Patrick Manderson, from the UK, spent a year studying at UQ and filmed one second of each day.


Student mobility

Student exchange

The UK is the most popular exchange destination for UQ students. There are student exchange agreements with 17 universities in the UK, including Imperial College London, University College London, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Manchester. Under these agreements, 704 UQ students studied in the UK and 546 UK students studied at UQ in the past 5 years, as a way to combine study and travel, and to discover a new culture.

Clinical placement opportunities

The UQ Faculty of Medicine encourages students to pursue overseas placement opportunities and, each year, approximately 20 medical students complete a clinical placement in the UK. In year one, students complete an observership, which allows them to gain exposure to the practice of medicine in a clinical healthcare, research, or community setting. In years three and four, students undertake clinical rotations.

Biomedical science research at Oxford

A collaboration between UQ's School of Biomedical Sciences and the University of Oxford is enabling UQ honours students to undertake research at Oxford under a scholarship, while Oxford masters students can complete research projects at UQ. Each scholarship consists of a return flight to the UK and a bursary. Since 2014, 8 UQ students have been awarded these scholarships. In 2015, inaugural scholarship recipient and honours graduate Hamish Lemmey became the first student outside Europe to receive a British Heart Foundation studentship to pursue a PhD at Oxford.

Summer schools

UQ students can apply for short-term programs across the UK and may be eligible to receive credit towards their degree. Popular programs include summer schools at the London School of Economics, University College London, and the University of Glasgow. Through an agreement with third-party provider AIM Overseas, students can also take part in programs at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Students are automatically considered for AUD 1,000 (589 GBP) Short-Term Study Travel Grants when submitting a for-credit program application.


The UK is home to UQ's 5th largest alumni community outside Australia, with 1,962 alumni living there, and more than 5,800 alumni were born there, including:

Sir Ross Cranston FBA
Judge of the High Court, Queens Bench Division in the UK (retd.) (BA(Hons), LLB(Hons), BEcon; Doctor of Laws honoris causa 2015)
Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, the University of Oxford (Bachelor of Science (Honours) 1980)
Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Aon (Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering 1992)
Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Asset Management (Bachelor of Economics (Hons) 1997, PhD 2007)
Partner, KPMG Advisory (Bachelor of Commerce 1990, Bachelor of Laws 1995)
Partner, Cadwalader (Bachelor of Commerce 1991, Bachelor of Laws 1995)
Senior Vice-President - Europe and Asia, HARMAN International (MBA 1997)
Head of Science Energy and Climate Change, UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) 1996)
Chair in Rehabilitation Science and Physiotherapy, University of Birmingham (Bachelor of Physiotherapy 1999; PhD 2003)
Professor Max Lu
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey (PhD 1991).

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Fast facts based on 2016 full year data.