Focus on the Positive


The world is full of problems, but it’s also full of brilliant people chipping away at those problems using their ideas and expertise. There isn’t just one simple way to make the world better, but lots of different ways to address a problem. At Focus on the Positive, the audience will get to choose a project they think will make a real difference to receive some real money to get it off the ground.

Are you a researcher in the School of the Built Environment, Engineering and Mathematical and Physical Sciences (BEAMS)? Do you have ideas on how to start solving one of the problems facing us today? Are you interested in considering and presenting your research in new ways? Could your research spark a new project, a piece of advocacy, or work with a charity? Most importantly, would £2000 help you to get this off the ground?

Focus on the positive is a series of events that started in October 2012. In front of a live audience, each project leader spends five minutes describing a problem with the world, and how they want to fix it. You can propose all sorts of solutions: perhaps a donation to a charity or a small research project, a piece of advocacy – or something completely different.

At each event, several researchers will put forward their ideas. The audience then has a chance to mingle and debate the issues before voting on what they’d like to support right there on the spot. The winning researcher gets £2,000 to spend on the idea that they’ve proposed. A runner-up will also receive £1,000 to take their project forward.

Why take part?

Well, there’s the chance to win the money, but it’s also a great opportunity to improve your communication skills, make links with other people at UCL, and think about your research in a different way. You’ll get bespoke communications training and even if the audience doesn’t choose your project, the UCL Public Engagement Unit will help you with ideas about the ways you could take it forward.

To find out more, visit the Focus on the Positive blog, which features stories from past winners and a short film about the project.

Who can take part?

If you’re a graduate student or member of staff from any of these faculties, you’re eligible to take part:

  • Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment
  • Engineering
  • Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • An institute or centre associated to these faculties

If you’re not sure if you are eligible, contact the Public Engagement Unit:

We are currently looking for speakers for our upcoming events. If you would like to get involved, please email

Page last modified on 13 oct 15 16:42