UCL Grand Challenges


Doctoral School grants eligibility

Before you apply, check the Grand Challenges Small Grants eligibility criteria, financial requirements and restrictions and exclusions.

Eligibility criteria

  • All UCL registered doctoral students (full or part-time) are eligible to apply, i.e. MPhil/PhD, Eng D, MD (Res), or professional doctorate students;
    • Postdoctoral Research Assistants (in their first postdoctoral appointment) may also apply, but one applicant must be a doctoral student
  • Awards of up to £2,000 for UCL only collaborations, and up to £2,500 for collaborations between UCL and the University of Lincoln.
    • You can apply for any amount up to the maximum.
    • We welcome applications at any funding level, your activity does not have to be very expensive or highly ambitious to be considered
  • Applicants from UCL must be based in different Faculties. N.B. Check Portico for your faculty.
  • The proposed activities must take place within the period of both Applicants' doctoral student registration at UCL. Activities must not occur after either or both students' theses have been submitted for examination
  • The Proposed activities must take place within the period of both doctoral students’ registration at UCL. Activities must not occur after doctoral students' theses have been submitted for examination 
  • Proposals should add value to the applicants' studies
  • Applicants should discuss their proposal with their supervisors before submitting an application
  • Proposals must have strong relevance to one of the six Grand Challenges.
  • All the costs associated with the proposal must be paid by 31 July 2022
  • We do not offer detailed individual feedback on unsuccessful applications
  • Successful applicants will be expected to submit a brief Impact Report in November 2022.
  • Successful applicants will be expected to acknowledge the support that they have received from Grand Challenges in promotional materials related to the supported activities, and in attributable publications.

First Applicants must: 

  • Obtain a statement of support from their Departmental Graduate Tutor
  • Discuss their plans with an appropriate Departmental Administrator regarding receipt and administration of funds
  • Only submit one application as a First Applicant in this round

Exclusions to the scheme

The following are excluded from our scheme:

  • Activities that will incur costs after 31 July 2022. Use of awarded funds cannot be deferred to a later period and cannot be reinstated by UCL Grand Challenges
  • Extensions of previous small grants activities
  • Studies in basic science or research that is exclusively lab-based
  • Where the main purpose of the application is to attend an overseas conference
  • Article processing charges (publication fees)
  • Academic fees, maintenance costs and bench fees. The First and Second Applicants are expected to work on a pro-bono basis

Financial requirements and restrictions

You must accept the following conditions as part of your application:

"First Applicants" must discuss their plans with an appropriate Departmental Administrator regarding the receipt and administration of funds

Grand Challenges cannot manage awarded funds on the award holder's behalf. This will be the responsibility of the department that receives the funds.

Successful First Applicants must forward a unique Project, Task Award (PTA) combination to the Grand Challenges office so that the necessary transfer of funds can be made. [The PTA required for this award type is 156425 PS-Grand Challenges].

All costs associated with the proposed activities must be claimed and paid for by 31 July 2022.

Award holders will be expected to complete and forward expenditure reports (usually two) to the Grand Challenges office.

Award holders who are unable to complete their proposed activities are requested to contact the relevant Grand Challenges Coordinator without delay and arrange for any unused funds to be transferred back to the Office of the Vice Provost (Research).  

Access to any transferred funds will expire immediately after 31 July 2022, and cannot be reinstated by Grand Challenges. Grand Challenges cannot meet costs incurred after this date, and the use of awarded funds cannot be deferred to a later financial year.  [N.B. Unused award funds are recovered by UCL Finance, and are not returned to Grand Challenges.]

Applications from researchers who have had a small grant in the past, but have not used the majority of the funds previously awarded, will be regarded as low priority in the competition for grants.