Space and migration: two strategic issues around which UCL researchers are combining their strengths and expertise by creating Louvain4Space and Louvain4Migration.
Space research at UCL is based on scientific expertise and abilities in many fields such as planetology, optics, radiation, radar, LIDAR, earth observation, neuroscience, modelling, earth-satellite transmission channel measurement, etc.
Objectives of Louvain4Space include combining space expertise and increasing UCL’s visibility in the field, including that of its three sectors: Science and Technology (SST), Health Sciences (SSS) and Human Sciences (SSH). The current number of UCL faculty and postdoctoral researchers involved is 79 and growing.
The use of the cyclotron in studying component/material resistance to radiation is one of UCL’s major assets, because it will contribute to developing low-cost commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) satellite constellations.
But multidisciplinarity and cross-disciplinarity are also essential, as are UCL’s industry contacts.
It’s well-known that the space industry significantly benefits society. In general, €1 of investment brings a return of €6. Fundamental and innovative space research also provides indirect benefits to society.
UCL is known for its centres’ involvement and expertise in immigration. The university is heavily involved in supporting refugees.
Migration is an everyday challenge to universities and their researchers. Up-to-date information on migrant flows and the best grasp of tools for evaluating them uncover new issues to deal with but also innovative analytical methods.
The questions are complex and require first-rate expertise based on basic research but also on targeted or applied research. The number of calls for proposals in this sector is growing, whether from public, private or NGO institutions.
The transfer of competences in these matters to the European Union, combined upstream with United Nations initiatives and downstream with national policies, has multiplied the number of decision-making entities and thus increased the need for analysis.
Additionally, students are demanding relevant information to understand the issues, as are actors in the field and in the media, decision-makers and the wider public.
The refugee crisis has accentuated this. Emergency responses, sometimes immediately revised, reinforce the need to study migration objectively in order to develop a rigorous scientific discourse.
This involves acute disciplinary expertise, which is developed at UCL in several institutes and research centres through disciplines such as social and clinical psychology, public health, sociology, anthropology, demography, economics and law. The issues are also of interest to philosophers, political scientists, historians, biologists, geographers, doctors and many other scientists. Migration issues are relevant across all university research fields.
The disciplinary approach is important but not sufficient to understand the complexity of migration issues. It must be coupled with an interdisciplinary approach. It is in this context that UCL researchers are combining their strengths and expertise by creating Louvain4Migration.