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UCL Grand Challenges

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Funding opportunities for UCL researchers

The Grand Challenges supports the work of researchers at UCL through strategic funding - allied to our Priority Themes - alongside 'bottom up' funding opportunities, for which any UCL academic can apply, partnering with at least one colleague from a different academic faculty.

There are a number of other small grants available at UCL, for example from:

All of the work that the Grand Challenges supports, through strategic support or small grant funding opportunities, helps to build relationships across UCL and is aimed at achieving impact: going some way towards solving one of the Grand Challenges facing our world.

UCL Grand Challenges advertise our small grants opportunities in term two of the academic year, but we invite speculative enquiries from interested UCL staff throughout the year. In addition, there are specific funding opportunities that arise, currently:

UCL - Hong Kong University partnership awards

UCL connects with the Hong Kong University (HKU) Strategic Partnerships Fund through the Grand Challenges programme. Facilitated by the UCL Global Engagement Office, a new (2016-17) inter-institutional partnership with HKU encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration in support of research addressing global challenges, particularly issues affecting Hong Kong and its region of Asia. The first Call for proposals, early in 2016-17, resulted in two awards:

  1. ‘Writing in the City’ – to Professor Li Wei of the Culture, Communication and Media department at the UCL Institute of Education, collaborating with Professor Adam Jaworski, HKU’s School of English 
  2. 'Non-pharmacological interventions in dementia’ – to Dr Aimee Spector, of UCL Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, collaborating with Dr Gloria HY Wong and Professor Terry YS Lum of HKU’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration

Successful UCL applicants receive up to £10k, while their HKU counterparts receive up to HK$100k, facilitating each side’s activity in a joint study.

The next deadline for proposals, for UCL-HKU collaborative activity in academic year 2017-18, is 30 September 2017. Read the scheme guidance and submit your application online.


Funding opportunities past and future

There have been a number of funding opportunities for UCL academics through the Grand Challenges, including our annual call for Small Grants.

Small Grants

Grand Challenges awards for small grant-supported cross-disciplinary collaborative activities in 2017-18 have been made every year since the programme began in 2009. The latest awards were made in June 2017.

Find out about the latest Grand Challenges Small Grants awarded

The next call for Grand Challenges small grant proposals, for collaborative activities in 2018-19, will be announced in January 2018.

UCL 2034 Grants

In 2017, we awarded 8 grants to projects aligned to UCL 2034, the University's 20-year strategy, aimed at steering UCL towards its vision.

This was a one-off funding call, awarding up to £10,000 to successful projects.

Find out about the grants awarded linked to UCL 2034

Doctoral School small grants

Over £29,000 was given to 16 projects in the first ever Grand Challenges small grants scheme aligned to the UCL Doctoral School, in 2017.

The scheme offered awards of up to £2,000 for pairs of doctoral students from different faculties for research-informed, societally relevant, cross-disciplinary activities to be undertaken in academic year 2017-18.

Read more about the projects we funded through the Doctoral School scheme