UCL Grand Challenges


Funding for UCL Researchers

Details of funding available from UCL Grand Challenges.

UCL 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 run an annual Grand Challenges Small Grants programme (with a deadline in May/June). We also invite speculative enquiries from interested UCL staff throughout the year. In addition, there are specific funding opportunities that arise during the year, including special initiative calls that promote activity in specific areas.

Special Initiative 2019/20: Engineering Solutions to the SDGs

Engineering Solutions SDG
The call for "Engineering Solutions to the SDGs" is now closed.

Special Initiative 2019/20: Green/Blue Spaces and Health

The call for "Green/Blue Spaces and Health" is now closed.

Special Initiative 2019/20: European Voices

European Voices
The call for "European Voices" is now closed.

Special Initiative 2019/20: Wellbeing in a throw-away culture

The call for "Wellbeing in a throw-away culture" is now closed.

Special Initiative 2019/20: Place-based Inequalities in the UK

place based inequalities
The call for "Place-based Inequalities in the UK" is now closed.

UCL Grand Challenges Doctoral Students' Small Grants 2019/20

The 2019/20 call for Grand Challenges Doctoral Students Small Grants is now closed.

UCL Grand Challenges Small Grants 2019/20

The 2019/20 call for Grand Challenges Small Grants is now closed. 

Other small grants available at UCL

Other small grants available at UCL include:

Regular funding opportunities 

Grand Challenges Small Grants 

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 2019/20 is now closed.

Small Grants Awarded

Grand Challenges Doctoral Students Small Grants 

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

The call for 2019/20 is now closed.

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 2018/19 is now closed.

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