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, Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, University College London, University of Nottingham 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 20 official partners

Fast facts show full-year 2020 data.



We have partnered with UK-based researchers on 5239 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key areas including EcologyEnvironmental Sciences Genetics, and Heredity. Our top co-publishing partners are the University of Oxford, University College London, and University of Cambridge.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 86 UK institutions on 214 research projects. Key collaborators include the University of London, University of Oxford, and Imperial College London.

Research funding

UK organisations, including the Wellcome Trust, International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, and W. T. Allen Bequest, have contributed A$11,187,745 towards 103 research projects in the past 5 years.

Collaboration in action

Making conservation ‘contagious’

New research reveals conservation initiatives often spread like disease, which can help scientists and policymakers design programs more likely to be taken up. The study, including UQ researchers, modelled how conservation initiatives are adopted until they reach “scale” – a level where they can have real impact on conserving or improving biodiversity. UQ’s Professor Hugh Possingham said understanding the underlying factors that lead to initiatives reaching scale was critical to savings species and ecosystems globally. Research leader, Imperial College London’s Dr Morena Mills, said conservation initiatives – like managing fishing resources and offsetting land for nature – were critical for protecting biodiversity and the ecosystems that provide us with clean water and air.

Survey explores impact of technology-facilitated abuse

A study is under way to investigate how ‘smart’ devices may be helping to facilitate domestic abuse in Australia and the United Kingdom. A team from UQ, Queensland University of Technology and University College London is examining how domestic and sexual violence survivors are being impacted by Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which enables everyday devices to collect, send and receive data. The interconnection of everyday devices via the Internet – including ‘smart’ objects such as TVs, fitness trackers and smartphones – is helpful, but in the wrong hands these devices can pose serious security and privacy risks. The risks of IoT technology are ever-changing, and technology-facilitated abuse is evolving with it.

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 A$4.8 million (2.8 million GBP) of funding.

The invisible perils of female success

School of Psychology Professor Alex Haslam has a strong history of collaboration with the University of Exeter, having previously worked there for 12 years. With Exeter Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology Postgraduate Research Dean Professor Michelle Ryan, Professor Haslam uncovered the phenomenon of the ‘glass cliff’, which the New York Times named as one of the ideas that shaped 2008. ‘Glass cliff’ is when women in leadership roles are likelier than men to achieve leadership positions during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest.

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 A$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.

Cooling brains on fire

A promising new therapy to stop Parkinson’s disease in its tracks has been developed at UQ. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with 10 million patients worldwide. Currently therapies tackle the symptoms, but not the cause. Faculty of Medicine researchers led by Associate Professor Trent Woodruff and Dr Richard Gordon have discovered an immune system target called NLRP3 inflammasome – a key underlying driver of the disease. The UQ team used a small molecule drug, MCC950, which stopped the development of Parkinson’s in animal models. The drug is being commercialised by UK compan, Inflazome. Phase 1 clinical trials with healthy volunteers started in 2019, with phase 2 trials in Parkinson’s patients in 2020 in the UK. 

Detective work to predict asthma and hay fever

Researchers from UQ’s School of Public Health and University of Exeter collaborated on methods to identify and track pollen, with a view to help people with chronic asthma or severe reactions to allergenic pollen to more effectively manage their condition. The collaboration involved scientists from The National Botanic Gardens of Wales, the UK Met Office and the UK universities of Bangor, Aberystwyth, Exeter, Worcester, and Australian universities UNSW and UQ. It was supported by a $2.24 million Natural Environment Research Council standard grant. Associate Professor Nicholas Osborne said the research would help allergy sufferers prepare for the hay fever season and doctors to prescribe more personalised treatments. Scientists hope to expand on the research to create a unique profile of each grass pollen species to determine the most harmful strains. 

UK students at UQ

The UK is among the top 25 countries of origin for UQ students. Excluding official student exchanges, 177 UK students enrolled in UQ degrees in the past 5 years. PhD studies, Executive Leadership, and the Bachelor of Arts are among 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. UQ has student exchange agreements with 17 universities in the UK. The most popular institutions for exchange include the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, and the University of Manchester. 

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.


The UK is home to one of the largest UQ alumni communities. More than 2836 alumni live there. Alumni with significant links to the UK include:

Judge of the High Court, Queens Bench Division in the UK (retd.) (Bachelor of Arts (Hons), LLB (Hons), Bachelor of Economy, Doctor of Laws honoris causa 2015)
Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, the University of Oxford (Bachelor of Science (Hons) 1980)
Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Aon (Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering 1992)
Head of Product at Asset Management Exchange (AMX), an institutional platform for investors and asset managers; former Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Asset Management (Bachelor of Economics (Hons) 1997, PhD 2007)
Partner, KPMG UK Advisory (Bachelor of Commerce 1990, Bachelor of Laws 1995)
Partner, Cadwalader (Bachelor of Commerce 1991, Bachelor of Laws 1995)
Vice-President and Global Head - 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)
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey (PhD 1991).
International bestselling Australian author (Bachelor of Arts (Hons) 1999, Master of Philosophy 2002)
Australian High Commissioner to United Kingdom (Bachelor of Arts (Hons) 1979, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) 1980)
Chief Financial Officer - Europe and APAC at L.E.K. Consulting (Bachelor of Commence 1992)
Executive Vice President and Functional Head of Exploration at Shell International Exploration and Production (Bachelor of Science (Hons) 1985)
Founder & CEO at Sparrho, contributor to Huffington Post (Bachelor of Pharmacy 2008)
Founder & COO at Space Ape Games (Bachelor of Science 1999, LLB (Hons) 2000)
Producer/Director at BBC Television (Bachelor of Science (Hons) 1995)
Operations Director at Tate (Associate Diploma of Business (Hospitality) 1993)