UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Countdown 2030 Call for Proposals

19 May 2015

Countdown 2030 Call for Proposals

Countdown 2030: Millennial Visions for Future Prosperity

Saturday 28th November 2015

Call for proposals to participate

The UCL Institute for Global Prosperity in collaboration with Counterpoint and the UCL Grand Challenges is inviting proposals for conference sessions and papers, and for pop-up events, contributing to Countdown to 2030 on 28 November 2015. The programme of events will focus on how the millennial generation envisage their concerns and aspirations for the years to 2030.

The organisers are looking for proposals that demonstrate good engagement and interdisciplinary thinking.

The deadline for proposals is 18 June.


The UCL Institute of Global Prosperity (IGP) in collaboration with Counterpoint and the UCL Grand Challenges is holding a major programme of events, Countdown to 2030, focused on how the millennial generation envisage their concerns and aspirations for the years to 2030 in the context of the challenges that affect their futures: environment, conflict, inequality, unemployment, energy, the economy, political crisis, health and cities.

All events will take place on Saturday 28th November 2015.

Intervention One: will comprise three pop-up events staged across London.

Each event will be linked with a theme that cross cuts UCL’s four Grand Challenges – Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing – and will address the relevance and value of cutting-edge research for the lives and prospective life trajectories of members of the Millennial generation (15-30 years) as they begin to take charge of shaping and ensuring future prosperity. Go to the UCL Grand Challenges homepage for more information.

Intervention Two will comprise a major conference framed to answer the question ‘How do we get to where we need to be in 2030?’.

The aim of this day long conference is for the research community of UCL to layout a road map for what could and should be achieved over the next 15 years in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be agreed later this year, providing new directions, adding value to existing debates, suggesting new organisational and institutional arrangements, laying out prospective technologies and demonstrating the value of disruptive thinking. Visit the UN SDGs working group webpage for more information.


2015 is a fulcrum year for international road maps to the future: notably the United Nations adoption of the SDGs that will set the international development agenda for 2015-2030; and the Paris climate talks in December, at which representatives of countries rich and poor will be asked to approve a set of binding international agreements to stop 21st century global warming exceeding 2°C.

“Millennials” have been identified as key drivers of change as we approach 2030. By 2030, they will be between 30-45 years of age and they will be the shapers of institutions, producers of knowledge, inventors of technology, consumers of goods and services, and leaders of organisations. What has to happen for the globe to achieve the changes it needs by 2030, and in what ways will this generation drive this change? How do Millennials envision their future and how will this envisioning shape knowledge production, cities, technology, lifestyles, business, work, environment and flourishing?

Becoming co-producers and co-designers of the knowledge that shapes this future is a key concern for Millennials across the world; using “Citizen Science” approaches, new interactive technologies, web platforms, and crowdsourcing there is enormous capacity to go beyond ‘consultation’ towards non-experts measuring and interpreting data themselves. This kind of knowledge production would be a good way of leveraging Millennials as drivers of change, and in order to do this effectively they need access to the best scientific evidence, the most considered judgement, the latest ideas, and the most robust debate. Countdown to 2030 is an opportunity for UCL to bring the next generation of change makers from diverse backgrounds across London and New York closer to, and into potential collaboration with, cutting edge research at UCL.

UCL has a special relationship with the Millennials because UCL students and researchers are studying within and working with communities in London. UCL has the good fortune to have this group of change-makers at its fingertips. Indeed – universities are the only institutions in the world which have access on this scale to this entire generation. A core motivation for Countdown to 2030 is its potential to demonstrate the capacity of universities to demonstrate how they can offer a megaphone for communities/citizens to broadcast to society.

1. Calls for ‘Pop-Up’ event proposals: Intervention One

Countdown 2030: Pop-up events across London

UCL-based researchers are invited to submit their ideas for one-day/half-day pop-up events across Bloomsbury and East London, addressing the challenges the Millennial generation faces in the next 30 years, and their potential contribution to the solutions. Themes should draw on scholarly and research capacity at UCL, and resonate with diverse audiences. These pop-up events should address themes that cross-cut the UCL grand challenges and demonstrate the relevance of research to the lives and aspirations of the MiIlennial generation as they seek innovative solutions to the challenges ahead of them. While pop-up events will take place in London and engage systematically and productively with young Londoners, the themes they address are expected to be global and to resonate with Millennials across the globe.

Pop-ups may be proposed by individuals, or cross-disciplinary research teams. Preference will be given to early career researchers, and to events with enhanced public engagement. All events will be open to members of the public. Pop-ups will also involve UCL students (U/G, Masters and PhD) as volunteers in the organisation and running of the events, and in the social media activities leading up to and surrounding the events.

Potential themes might include, but are definitely not limited to:

Food, Fashion, Life, Consumption, Technology, Ethics, Surprise, Work, Disruption, Sharing, Materials, Transport, Culture, Satisfaction, Energy, Water. The theme of food, for example, could include researchers working on plant genetics, food security, water, diet, gluttony, narrative, shopping, urban agriculture, soils, trade, politics, synthetic biology, poisons, body image, cuisine, and film.

The major insights gained from each pop-up event will feed into discussion at the main Countdown 2030 conference via live twitter feeds and other social media.

Community engagement is vital. Interested UCL researchers are encouraged to approach London community-based organisations to solicit ideas. Successful researchers will be expected to develop their events jointly with Community Partners in London which may include, for example, community organisations, time-banks, faith-based organisations, arts organisations, schools and social enterprises.

The IGP and the UCL Public Engagement Unit (PEU) will provide advice and assistance with the development of selected proposals and proposers are not expected to have worked with community-based groups prior to making an expression of interest.

Possible venues might include, but are not limited to:

The Ludwig-Guttmann Centre for Health & Wellbeing (Olympic Park), The Old Truman Brewery, Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane market, Bromley-by-Bow Community Centre, Trades Unions Congress headquarters, the Barbican Arts Centre.

One pop-up will be part of and take place within a major community event being run by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in the QE Olympic Park on Saturday 28th November. Proposers interested in this event should contact Hannah Sender [hannah.sender.13@ucl.ac.uk] and not the LLDC.

Proposers are also encouraged to suggest their own venues, choosing locations relevant to their event and their potential audiences.

Mode of application Expressions of interest, on up to three sides of A4 should describe the idea for the pop-up, including how it will engage with key individuals or communities in London, where it will be located and why, and the theme that the event will explore.

The IGP, Counterpoint and UCL Grand Challenges will work closely with the pop-ups selected.

2. Calls for conference Sessions and Papers: Intervention Two

Countdown 2030: How Do We Get Where We Need to Be in 2030?

The main conference will deliver an innovative intellectual programme to be held in a location in Bloomsbury.

The aim of the main conference is to demonstrate the value of the UCL research Community in laying out new directions in the context of the SDGs, exploring new dilemmas and choices, and pushing forward scientific, political and public debate on the key challenges globally in the period 2015-2030. The key idea for the conference is that the boundaries should be porous – between scholarly fields, and between academia, government, business and communities.

Proposals for sessions (2 hrs) and Papers (15 mins) are invited on themes that address how researchers at UCL see the challenges and potential achievements of the SDGs, cross-cut the UCL Grand Challenges and work across disciplines. Sessions that involve more than one faculty will be particularly welcome, as well as those focusing on disruptive thinking, and mechanisms to enhance social, economic and political change.

One session in the conference will be dedicated to Early Childhood Development. This session will be cross-disciplinary – involving, but not limited to nutrition, cognition, education, neuroscience, language, maternal and child health. Session proposals and papers on this theme are warmly invited, and those interested should contact Dr Carolyn Williams, IGP [c.williams@ucl.ac.uk]

Conference outputs: It is envisaged that there will be a series of outputs from the conference.

One will be a report containing recommendations for city planners and policy makers, business, and the United Nations laying out a road map to 2030. The conference will attempt to be mould-breaking, but is also intended to function as an effective scholarly forum mixing senior researchers and scholars with post-docs and early-career scholars. It is also intended to offer a unique opportunity to access other researchers and non-academic communities.

Mode of Application: Session proposal should be no longer than 3 sides of A4 and contain a brief discussion of the theme and the aims of the session, with names of paper givers and preliminary titles, and an indication of the kinds of outputs the session may give rise to. Post-conference. Paper proposals should give name, title of paper and abstract on one side of A4, with an indication of broader themes or session that the paper might link to.

3. Expressions of Interest

Please send expressions of interest in the Calls for Pop-Up events and Conference sessions to: Hannah Sender [hannah.sender.13@ucl.ac.uk] by 18 June 2015.

The IGP and PEU will also be organising a series of lead-up events to be held in London between June and November 2015 working on Countdown 2030 event themes with the UCL community and communities across London. Anyone interested in designing or being involved in these events should also contact Hannah Sender.