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 20 official partners

Fast facts show full-year 2018 data.



We have partnered with UK-based researchers on more than 5300 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key areas including ecology, genetics and heredity, and multidisciplinary sciences. Our top co-publishing partners are the University of Oxford, University College of London, and University of London.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 72 UK institutions on 194 research projects, covering topics such as breaking the cycle of disadvantage, understanding why time seems to sometimes fly past and othertimes drag on, and expanding the uses of telehealth practices. Key collaborators include the University of London, Imperial College London and the University of Oxford.

Research funding

UK organisations, including the Wellcome Trust, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers and Worldwide Cancer Research, have contributed more than A$15.9 million towards 88 research projects in the past 5 years. Projects investigate a range of topics such as crowdsourcing the next antibiotic to tackle drug-resistant infection, treating dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and helping adults with hearing loss to become more effective communicators.

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 A$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 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 now being commercialised by a UK company called Inflazome. Phase 1 clinical trials with healthy volunteers will start in 2019, with phase 2 trials in Parkinson’s patients scheduled for 2020 in the UK.

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, 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.

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 A$1000 Short-Term Study Travel Grants when submitting a for-credit program application.


The UK is home to one of the largest UQ alumni communities. More than 2110 alumni live there, while 6206 alumni were born there. Alumni with significant links to the UK include:

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).