UCL Grand Challenges



Come together with the finest minds to discuss, debate and explore topics through a cross disciplinary lens.

There are exhibitions, lectures, seminars, discussions and performances every day at UCL. You can find out more on the UCL Events website.

Below we have picked out some of the events supported and inspired by the UCL Grand Challenges:

Fundamental(ly) British Values

Thursday 16th November, 14:00 - 18:00

Garden Room, Wilkins Building

The UCL Faculty of Laws, together with the Institute of Education will bring together a range of experts in the areas of EU constitutional law, law and religion, discrimination law, philosophy, citizenship education and sociology of education to discuss the significance and consequences of the 'fundamental values' discourse from a wide range of perspectives.

Find out more and register to attend

Dwelling together in diverse spaces

Thursday 16th November, 18:00 - 21:00

Drama studio, Institute of Education, Bedford Way

This event will premiere a film documenting the ‘Dwelling Together in Diverse Spaces’ project lead by Abigail Bentley and Darren Chetty, funded by the Grand Challenges of Cultural Understanding, through its theme of ‘Growing Up Multicultural’.

The aim of the ‘Dwelling Together in Diverse Spaces’ project was to develop discussions around multiculturalism, racism and identity by focusing on a variety of selected topics. Participants were asked to contribute to discussions as they saw fit and were interviewed reflecting on the discussions.

Dwelling together trailer

Find out more and register to attend

EU citizens in the UK – political participation in light of Brexit

Tuesday 21st November, 19:00 - 21:45

Room 602, 22 Gordon Street

In response to the questions raised by the Brexit negotiations about the political and social rights of EU citizens in the UK, this event will consider what the future holds. This roundtable discussion will include Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary

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Sowing Sustainability: UCL and Urban Food Systems

Wednesday 22nd November, 17:30 - 19:00

Institute of Advanced Studies Common Ground, Wilkins Building

A new film from the Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities looks at new ways of thinking about how we produce and consume food in our modern, urbanising world.

The film features the work of Robert Biel (Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL) who, as well as teaching political ecology and a Masters module on "Food and the City", is a practising food grower. He has written a very accessible and popular book "Sustainable Food Systems: The Role of the City", which is available from UCL Press.

Find out more and register to attend

DataDive - develop your data science skills and help charities

Saturday 25th November (9am – 10pm) and Sunday 26 November 2017 (10am – 4pm)

Pivotal Software, The Bower, 211 Old Street, London, EC1V 9NR

The UCL eResearch Domain, UCL Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology,  Elsevier Foundation and DataKind have organised a DataDive: your opportunity to develop your skills using data from three charities who need your help. DataDives are high energy, marathon-style events where charities work alongside teams of volunteer data scientists and developers to use data to gain insight into their programs, all in 48 hours or less. The focus is on initial data analysis, exploration, and prototyping. Bring your own laptop.

The event is suitable for researchers (PhD students, postdocs, academics) who already have skills as a Data Scientist, Data Visualisation Whizz, or Developer, as well as those who are enthusiastic about data but don’t yet have the right skills.

Find out more about the charities and what you'll be doing and register to attend

Non-communicable diseases in Africa -  Professor Ama de Graft Aikins

Thursday 30th November, 16:00 - 18:00

IAS Common Ground, Wilkins Building

Ama de Graft Aikins is Professor of Social Psychology and Dean of International Programmes at the University of Ghana and a visiting scholar at UCL. Professor de Graft Aikin's research focuses on experiences and representations of chronic physical and mental illnesses, Africa's chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) burden and the social psychology of knowledge in African settings. Her talk, "NCDs in Africa: Sugar disease, bitter medicine - diabetes in urban Ghana" is sure to be an illuminating discussion on an area the Grand Challenge of Global Health has explored previously.

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Routes to Opportunity - Addressing the non-university skills gap

Wednesday 6th December, 08:30

Jeffery Hall, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way

Sir Vince Cable MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Professor Becky Francis, Director of the UCL IoE launch "Routes to Opportunity - Addressing the non-university skills gap" - a report on access to technical and vocational education for the over 25s in England. 

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Launch of the Collaborative Social Science Domain

Tuesday 12th December, 17:30 - 19:30

Lecture Theatre 1, Basement, Cruciform Building

Join us to formally launch UCL’s Collaborative Social Science Domain (CSSD) and learn more about its activities to date and plans for the future. This will be an ideal opportunity for UCL researchers to discover how the Domain, led by Professor Alison Fuller, can support them and facilitate new cross-disciplinary collaborations. There will be contributions from senior representatives from major research funding bodies who will discuss the role of cross-disciplinarity in their strategic priorities.

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The science and culture of sleep and sleeplessness

Wednesday 10th January 2018, 11:15 - 21:00

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

Sleep is an enormous part of our lives and has fascinated scientists, artists and writers for centuries: Why do we sleep? And why do we sometimes struggle to sleep? Join us for a day of informal talks – with perspectives on sleep and sleeplessness from biologists, historians, artists, medics and cultural critics from UCL and beyond – and continued discussion over drinks in the evening.

Find out more and register to attend