UCL Grand Challenges


Funding for UCL researchers

Funding from the UCL Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges funding supports cross-disciplinary collaborations that address societal problems. We offer strategic funding, and 'bottom up' funding opportunities for novel ideas, collaborations and approaches. Each Grand Challenge has a set of Priority Themes, areas in which we are particularly keen to support community building, research activity and engagement beyond UCL. 

We offer an annual Grand Challenges Small Grants programme (with a deadline in May). We also invite speculative enquiries from interested UCL staff throughout the year. In addition, there are specific funding opportunities that arise.

Other small grants available at UCL

Other small grants available at UCL include:

Current funding opportunities

Dive Into Data 2019

Dive into Data challenge 2019
Deadline for expression of interest is 18 January 2019.

This year's data challenge is offering a prize of £500 for insights into the Grand Challenges Priority Themes for Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding or Human Wellbeing. Prizes will be awarded for the best use of data held by the Consumer Data Research Centre, and we welcome expressions of interest from UCL academics, researchers and master’s students with interest in data from any discipline.

You can read all about the call on the eResearch Domain website. If you have any questions about the challenge, please contact Dr Valerie Karaluka. 

Find out more

Migration & Displacement: Call for Proposals

Migration and Displacement
Apply by Friday 4 January 2019

Funding is available for cross-disciplinary activities under the 2018-19 mega-theme of Migration and Displacement (MD), which covers all six Grand Challenges. There are two levels of funding available:

  • £2,500 - Applications led by a doctoral student
  • £5,000 - Applications led by a postdoctoral or more senior researcher

Find out more and apply

Coming Soon: Social & Ethical Aspects of Artificial Intelligence

Social and Ethical Aspects of Artificial Intelligence
This call for proposals will support the GCTT priority theme. Four awards of £2,500 will be available to support cross-disciplinary approaches that consider the social impacts of advances in artificial intelligence.

Check back for more details.


Collaborative Science & Technology Workshops at UCL


Collaborative Science & Technology Workshops at UCL
Apply by Friday 18 January 2019

Researchers based at UCL are now invited to respond to the 7th Call for funds to organise collaborative workshops on science and technology topics. Workshops must involve participants from UCL and from research institutions in France.

  • Apply for up to £7,000 to run a workshop at UCL

Find out more and apply

Regular funding opportunities 

Grand Challenges Small Grants Scheme

The Small Grants have been part of the Grand Challenges since 2009, the very beginning of the programme. The annual Small Grants call supports grass-roots cross-disciplinary collaborations in all six Grand Challenges.

The call for Grand Challenges Small Grants  closed in May 2018.

Small Grants Awarded

Grand Challenges Doctoral Students Small Grants Scheme

This scheme, a collaboration with the UCL Doctoral School, offers awards of up to £2,000 for pairs of doctoral students from different faculties for research-informed, societally relevant, cross-disciplinary activities.

The call for Grand Challenges Doctoral Students Small Grants closed in June 2018.

Doctoral School Awards

French Embassy Funded Collaborative Science & Technology Workshops 

Funding from the French Embassy's Department of Science & Technology for UCL researchers to organise workshops in collaboration with research institutions in France. The most recent call made £20,000 available for up to five workshops.

The call for 2017/18 closed in January 2018.

French Embassy Funding


Adolescent Lives

Adolescent Lives was the pan-Grand Challenges mega-theme for 2017-18. Two tiers of funding (up to £3,000, and up to £10,000) were available for UCL researchers (including doctoral students) to address the following questions:

How can adolescence be defined?—How is it used and what does it mean to young people?

Youth Prospects—What barriers are young people facing? What are their thoughts on isolated and interconnected local to global issues? What are the best ways to support them in amplifying their opinions?

Youth IdentitiesHow, and in what ways, do young people define themselves? How are identities created? How is identity and selfhood fluid?

This call closed in January 2018 and supported work in academic year 2017/18. More information and a list of the successful projects can be accessed here.

Society's Response to Ageing

Researchers based at UCL were invited to submit proposals for events that addressed 'Society's Response to Ageing'. This pan-Grand Challenges initiative provided six grants, one for each Grand Challenge, of up to £2,500.

A major report, based on the insights from the events, will be presented at a UCL-Japan Embassy symposium on the Super-Ageing Society, to be held in 2018/19.

This call closed in January 2018 and supported work in academic year 2017/18

UCL-HKU Partnership Awards

UCL Grand Challenges, in partnership with the UCL Global Engagement Office, connects UCL researchers with the Hong Kong University (HKU) Strategic Partnerships Fund. The awards supported cross-disciplinary research collaborations between UCL and HKU, part of a new inter-institutional partnership with HKU. The funded research addressed global challenges, particularly issues affecting Hong Kong and its region of Asia. 

Successful UCL applicants received up to £10k, with their HKU counterparts receiving up to HK$100k

Previous UCL-HKU Awards

Grand Challenges UCL 2034 Grants

In 2017, we awarded eight grants to projects aligned to UCL 2034, the University's 20-year strategy, aimed at steering UCL towards its vision.

This was a one-off funding call, making eight awards in 2017. A list of the awards can be accessed here