UCL Grand Challenges


Latest news including new small grant funding available

10 February 2017

  • New call for small grants made: apply now for up to £4,000 in project funding
  • Proposals must address a Priority Theme relating to one of the six UCL Grand Challenges
  • Work of the expanded Grand Challenges programme now beginning in earnest: projects and events underway across the world, from London to India
Grand Challenges Small Grants

Small Grants scheme opens

The UCL Grand Challenges have launched the first small grants call since the programme expanded to six areas of cross-disciplinary focus. UCL academics (including honorary researchers) at postdoctoral level or above can now apply for up to £4,000 in funding for a research-informed, societally relevant, cross-disciplinary activity, addressing one of the Priority Themes of the Grand Challenges.

The Grand Challenges Small Grants scheme exists to encourage and support grass-roots research-informed cross-disciplinary cooperation based on scholarly excellence in different fields, between staff in different faculties; or between staff in a faculty and staff in Professional Services (UCL’s in-house ‘research user’ community) with the aim of producing novel insights and impacts both within our university, and beyond it in wider society.

Find out more about the Grand Challenges Small Grants scheme and apply for funding now

Interdisciplinary work underway

Meanwhile, the work of the expanded Grand Challenges programme is already underway, as Priority Themes have been decided on and researchers get to work on cross-disciplinary activity. Some of the early events include:

Global Health film screening: the story of e-cigs

The UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health in collaboration with the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change are holding a film screening of the electronic cigarette documentary "Beyond the Cloud" on Wednesday 22 March, telling the story of the rise of e-cigarettes.

In the last five years, tobacco free nicotine containing electronic cigarettes have burst onto the scene and provided millions of smokers with a harm reduction option. Switching from smoking to vaping reduces health risks, although heated debate in public health means that ecigs are not yet universally accepted as a weapon in the war against smoking related ill-health and death.

This film screening is a chance to find out more and ask questions about ecigs, tobacco, public health and public policy, including of UCL Professor Robert West. Professor West, from the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, is a Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies whose research covers tobacco addiction and smoking cessation and has in recent years also addressed ecigs.

Find out more and book your place at this free event.

Cultural Understanding event series in India: Difficult Dialogues

Difficult Dialogues is an annual forum examining issues of contemporary relevance in South Asia, with a different yearly theme. Over three days, the forum hosts intensive discussions between diverse stakeholders: from policy makers, academics, and civil society, to politicians, leaders from media, business and international organizations, and rising young leaders. All discussions are managed to be respectful, factually accurate, and courageous.

This year, Difficult Dialogues has through the Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding partnered with UCL to examine the aim of Health For All. The series of events will look at the grand challenge India faces in providing access to high quality healthcare for all citizens. It will include discussions under four broad themes: Inequalities in Health and Healthcare; Perceptions of Gender and Consequences for Health; Universal Health (Care) Coverage; and The Changing Burden of Disease.

Find out more about Difficult Dialogues and the work we are planning under the 'India Voices' banner.

Human Wellbeing awards grants for work on ageing in Asia

The Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing has already awarded grants to researchers interested in the issue of looking after the elderly in Asia.

Populations across Asia are rapidly ageing. But few countries are prepared for the coming demand for elderly care. So far, many Asian societies have relied on families to care for their ageing relatives, but they will soon need to develop new approaches that involve more professional caregivers and community-wide solutions.

The countries of Asia, many of which have experienced massive economic growth in recent years, have the grand challenge of allocating limited financial resources to competing needs, such as education, health care, agriculture and the environment, while taking care of their fast ageing populations.

The Grand Challenge grant recipients will be investigating this fascinating issue, critical to the future of the world's largest continent.

Find out more about the awards made so far on the Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing website.