Opportunities, News & Events from UCL Grand Challenges

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

Editorials - Prof David Price & Dr Ian Scott


"2018-19 has been a great year for the Grand Challenges programme, through 70+ activities at a cost of less than £300,000, based on leadership from every Faculty at UCL and co-creation of issues to address with external non-academic partners. The breadth of UCL interest in thinking ‘outside the box’ is greater than ever. Examples include a ‘Health Systems’ award to a group of undergraduate students motivated to improve healthcare delivery in rural Nepal, an award to doctoral students interested in using bacteria to breakdown plastics, an exploration of teachers and doctors’ trust in artificial intelligence, and an enquiry into the dynamics of globalisation in the UK’s coastal communities. We have seen the fruits of Grand Challenges small grants made in previous years, including the publication of the interim report of the Environmental Justice Enquiry (UCL Laws and Geography collaborating with a Somers Town community group), informing the Camden Clean Air Action Plan.

Dr Ian Scott, Director, UCL Grand Challenges and Cross-Disciplinary Development

To introduce this newsletter, hear from UCL's Vice-Provost (Research) and the Director of the Grand Challenges, as they reflect on the future of the programme.
Read the full Editorials online

Up to £7.5k of funding available now!

UCL researchers are invited to apply for Grand Challenges funding through the latest round of Small Grants. We are looking for teams who can use academic insights to address current social issues.

There is up to £7,500 available per project funded.

Find out more and apply on our website before the closing date of 21st June.

Projects must be led by applicants from different disciplines, and can include third sector, or other external partners as relevant to the project proposed.

Find out more about these funding opportunities on our website

Latest News

UCL Lancet Lecture explores non-communicable diseases

The latest UCL Lancet Lecture was held in April, examining the relatively unreported non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

The speaker, Dr Rachel Nugent, Vice President for Global NCDs at RTI International, compared them to a global pandemic or the threat from climate change and spoke about humans' inability to deal well with such existential threats.

The Grand Challenges has supported this annual lecture since 2001 and editor of The Lancet, Dr Richard Horton, spoke positively about the partnership. Past speakers have included Christiana Figueres, former Head of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Head of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé, and Indian author Arundhati Roy.

You can watch the entire Lancet Lecture on our YouTube channel
Visit the UCL Grand Challenges website to find out more

Upcoming Events

Deconstructing the Dream, 15th and 16th May

Antonia Hamilton (Professor in Social Neuroscience at UCL) teams up with academics from Goldsmiths and the Flute Theatre to explore the neuroscience of imagination at UCL's Bloomsbury Theatre.

While actors take to the stage, new imaging technologies used by the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience will reveal activity in the performers’ brains to the audience.

Find out more about this event.

Centre for Inclusion Health launch, 3rd June

Supported by a grant from the Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality, this new Centre aims to improve the health of vulnerable members of society. The Centre will work with homeless people, people in prison, people who are dependent on illicit drugs, sex workers, vulnerable migrants and other groups who have unfair health outcomes. It aims to close the extreme gap in health and life expectancy.

Find out more about the Centre's launch event.

UCL Festival of Culture, 3rd - 7th June

UCL’s fourth Festival of Culture offers over 80 opportunities to engage with the ground-breaking ways in which UCL research challenges social norms, confronts the past and helps us to think critically about the present.
Find out more about the Festival of Culture.

Festival of Culture events supported by the Grand Challenges include:

Thursday 6th June

Friday 7th June
See the Grand Challenges events page for more

New Grand Challenges podcast

Siobhan Morris from UCL Grand Challenges chats with Dr Christine Xine Yao and Dr Ezra Horbury ahead of their symposium, Trans Studies, Trans Lives: Past, Present, and Future. The symposium seeks to recognise the difficult histories and structural issues faced by trans people, but also to ensure the present and future of trans people’s lives are not defined by oppression. Dr Yao and Dr Horbury discuss why such a symposium is needed now more than ever, and outline how to get involved.

Find out more about the symposium being held on 25th May

Listen to the new podcast on Soundcloud
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