UCL Grand Challenges


French Embassy Collaborative Science & Technology Workshops

A UCL Grand Challenges - French Embassy partnership activity

Sixth Annual Call for Proposals: Academic Year 2017-18

In 2012 UCL and the French Embassy signed a 5-year Collaboration Agreement to work in partnership to facilitate and support an annual series of joint workshops at UCL, between research groups at UCL and at universities in France, with a Science and/or Technology focus. The Agreement has been renewed for a further three years, to provide funds for workshops during UCL academic years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The workshop series is one of two joint initiatives between UCL Grand Challenges and the French Embassy Science & Technology department, the other being an annual series of Conference-Débat lectures, established 2010, on big cross-disciplinary topics, with speakers from UCL and research institutions in France. 

This is the 6th Call for Proposals.

Researchers based at UCL are now invited to respond to the 6th Call for funds to organise collaborative workshops involving participants from UCL and from research institutions in France. The French Embassy will also announce the Call on its website. For academic year 2017-18, the French Embassy's Department of Science & Technology has kindly committed to provide up to £20,000 for support of between three and five workshops (depending on the quality and value for money of applications received). 

Workshops should focus on research questions of importance in advancing scientific understanding, its application in technology, and/or resolution of complex problems of societal importance. Use of novel cross-disciplinary approaches will be of particular interest in Grand Challenges-relevant proposals.

Deadline for submission of applications: 0900, Monday 19 February 2018

Decisions on funding announced: Week commencing Monday 19 March 2018

Download the application form and submit your application today (.doc)

Criteria for selection of Workshops

A proposed workshop should: 

(a) Be planned to occur before Friday 31 August 2018, the awarded funding being spent by the end of UCL's financial year - i.e. by Tuesday 31 July 2018

(b) Cost no more than £6,700 (less costly proposals, budgeted at £4-5,000 are also welcome)

(c) Designed to take place using UCL's facilities within the Workshop Budget. It is intended that the budget for a workshop will, in addition to covering the costs of dinner for all participants on Day 1, and lunch and refreshment costs for all participants on Day 2 of the workshop, also support the travel, accommodation (one night) and subsistence costs of participants travelling from France

(d) Be led by senior researchers from UCL and France (i.e. established academics / senior research fellows)

(e) Be suitable for a total of approximately 12 to 16 participants, including approximately 6 to 8 French participants

(f) Have the aim of building on existing, or establishing new, links between UCL and French academic and research organisations

(g) Seek to establish new approaches for possible research collaborations, including those needing input from researchers from diverse disciplinary and methodological backgrounds  

(h) Address, for example, 

  • an S&T challenge at the frontiers of either basic or applied science
  • one of UCL's Grand Challenges of Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding Human Wellbeing, Transformative Technology and Justice & Equality
  • a European Commission thematic programme

Format of Workshop

A suggested workshop format is as follows:

Day 1

14.00 Arrival at UCL (to enable same-day journey start)

14.00-18.00 Workshop activity

20.00-22.00 Dinner 

Day 2

09.00-13.00 Continuation of workshop

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00 Depart (to enable same-day journey end)

Application Guidance Notes

1. UCL lead applicants are invited to submit their proposals to OVPR by filling in the form below, also on behalf of their French counterparts.

2. Doctoral (PhD) students and postdoctoral research assistants are very welcome to participate, but lead applicants must be established academics or group leaders (e.g. senior research fellows). 

By applying, applicants indicate their agreement if successful to provide:

• A short report (confirming that the workshop took place, also describing planned follow-up activity) within one month after the workshop. [Earlier workshop reports will be published on the GC website.]

• By Friday 21 September 2018, an expenditure statement [NB the French Embassy needs this in order to justify budgetary support for future workshop competitions]

• 12 months after the workshop, if prompted by UCL OVPR, a short update providing information on any attributable further developments

Successful applicants will be responsible for all the practical arrangements for the workshop, and should not expect further logistical support from the OVPR or from the French Embassy.

UCL Grand Challenges undertakes to publicise the immediate, medium and longer-term outcomes attributable to funded workshops.

Download the application form and submit your application today (.doc)