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Innovation challenge events and funding

This initiative brings together academics and external partners to explore how UCL’s expertise could help solve challenges facing individuals, organisations and society.

Through themed events and funding, we aim to support collaborative projects which help address challenges that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) priority areas.

Innovation Challenges 

Our Innovation Challenges are designed to promote inclusivity, creativity, and collaboration among academics and external partners.

They generally focus on a broad topic (for example, women’s health) and encourage participants to collaborate on innovative ideas and solutions to challenges relevant to that topic.

Challenges generally involve 2 stages:

  • a workshop where academics and external partners explore a particular topic and related challenges
  • funding to support the further development of innovative ideas and solutions to these challenges

Details of the funding application process and requirements are specific to each challenge and are made available at the time of the challenge. Applications are evaluated by an Innovation & Enterprise panel.

Throughout the process, participants receive support through facilitated sessions, mentoring, and funding expertise.

Challenges Explored: Expert panel discussions

This series of panel discussions aims to foster collaboration between UCL academics and external partners to address pressing challenges of our time.

Through discussions on broad topics (such as solutions in circular fashion) invited partners have an opportunity to discuss challenges with UCL academics whose expertise aligns with their areas of interest. 

These discussions have resulted in collaborative research bids, the establishment of new UCL institutes, pro bono advisory services, and policy work aiding London's COVID recovery.

Watch our video on circular solutions in fashion event

This event (run under the old series name of Challenge-Oriented Innovation Network (COIN)) bought UCL’s community together with Liverpool John Moores University, UCL’s Institute of Making, UCL’s Institute of Global Prosperity and Barclays Eagle Labs to look at circular solutions in fashion. Participants explored a series of pattern cutting techniques to repurpose existing garments provided by SevenStore.com

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/3hgi7FJA

Upcoming challenges

Future Industries Demonstrator

This programme, led by the SHIFT inclusive innovation district, is looking to transform east London’s natural environment by supporting SMEs tackling the climate emergency.

We’re currently looking for researchers to get involved with Future Industries Demonstrator and collaborate with SMEs on projects.

Find out more about the Future Industries Demonstrator and how to get involved. 

Inclusivity in women's health

To launch this challenge, we're hosting an event on 6 March 2024. This event will bring together UCL researchers, industry experts, and companies working in HealthTech and digital health to explore topics on inclusivity in women's health.

Find out more about the event and book your place.

After the event, UCL researchers, in collaboration with a company, will be able to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to develop a project together. For more information, email b.malkani@ucl.ac.uk

Watch a video about last year's women's health challenge

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/AI55ad10

Case study

Two people sitting opposite each other and talking
UCL staff support Camden Council through the pandemic

The skills and expertise of UCL staff have helped Camden Council evaluate its service delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.