Events & Opportunies from the UCL Grand Challenges

Here's the latest from the UCL Grand Challenges, including news on cross-disciplinary projects, collaborative events and new research initiatives that you can get involved with.

STOP PRESS: Exciting events in December

We have two fascinating events happening at UCL in December; we hope you can join us:
  • Free Speech in the Age of Social Media (Monday 3rd December, 18:30)
Organised by the Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality, this evening of discussion will explore the difficulties of upholding freedom of speech in an age when communications cross geographical boundaries, and consequently, country-specific laws governing such practices.
  • Take Back Control: Empowering People in the Welfare State (Monday 10th December, 17:30)
The welfare state lifted millions out of poverty, created decent homes, provided health care free at the point of delivery, and education for all. But is the current welfare state fit for the 21st century? This event will see an expert panel, including former Labour leader Ed Miliband and former WHO director Prof Anthony Costello, discuss your questions.

Looking further afield, the UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health will publish its findings in December before a policy event at Chatham House in London on Friday 18th January. Stay tuned for more details of this event.
Find out more and register for these events now

Latest News

Apply for up to £2,500 now: Health Systems and Embedded Inequalities

Closing on the 3rd December, these two funding opportunities are open for UCL researchers. Please apply with a cross-disciplinary collaboration which addresses:
  • Structural and relational inequalities; or
  • Medical advances, translated into significant gains for effective and equitable healthcare

£56,000 awarded in Grand Challenges Small Grants

The UCL Grand Challenges have awarded £56,000 in funding to 14 cross-disciplinary projects, bringing academics, post-doctoral researchers and staff of Professional Services departments from across the University together to tackle some of the major problems affecting the world. Find out more about the projects funded by the latest round of Small Grants.

Adolescent Lives

The Adolescent Lives initiative - one of the key priorities of the Grand Challenges - has been making an impact through fascinating new collaborations. You can find out more about a range of projects focussing on the meaning of adolescence, young people's wellbeing, children excluded from school, runaway young people on trains in Mumbai and much, much more. Find out more about the projects supported through the Adolescent Lives initiative on our website and our new blog, Grand Impacts.
Visit the UCL Grand Challenges website to find out more

Around the six Grand Challenges

We have been working hard to get new collaborations off the ground, help new research projects to work and set up spaces where the research community can get together across disciplinary boundaries.

Some of the activities we've been up to recently include:

UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health set to publish

UCL Grand Challenges has been a key catalyst for international academic collaboration. The UCL-Lancet commission on Migration and Health, running since November 2016 and led by Professor Ibrahim Abubakar (UCL), will be publishing its findings in the first week of December 2018. The report will provide recommendations to improve the health impact of migration, with perspectives from migration data, health systems functioning, forced and labour migration, and culture and anthropology. 
Check out the report at

Dynamics of Globalisation funding announced

Following the Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding's recent call for proposals addressing the theme, Dynamics of Globalisation, the successful applicants have now been announced. Seven awards have been made to UCL academics, many of whom partner with external organisations.

Find out more about the projects we have funded.

The Science and Culture of Insomnia

Funding from the Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing has allowed Prof Matthew Beaumont (UCL English) and Kimberley Whitehead (UCL Neuroscience) to explore insomnia, as it is represented through both the sciences and the humanities. They have organised a symposium and published new papers, while at the same time holding an exhibition with newly commissioned artwork.

Check out the video below and read all about it in our new blog

Working together leads to new academic journal

The Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities supported a collaboration between Nature and UCL to ask fundamental questions about the interface between urban science and urban policy. This led to integrated research and the basis of a new journal, Nature Sustainability.

Read more about this major new collaboration.

UCL leads on the social implications of AI

The Social Issues Around Artificial Intelligence was a UCL town meeting on AI, organised under the auspices of UCL’s Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology. The event brought together UCL academics from philosophy, science, statistics, education and law to present short provocations on the impact of artificial intelligence on society.

Read more about the event and what UCL plans to do next

New report focusses on 'missing millions'

The Grand Challenge of Justice and Equality produced a report addressing an overlooked public policy problem. Institute of Education Doctoral candidate Aly Colman authored a report on access to vocational and technical education for the over- 25s in England. It was launched with speakers including IoE Director Professor Becky Francis and Sir Vince Cable MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Check out the video above and read more about the study and its findings in our new blog.

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