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

Space and Microbiology: Supplementary Call for Doctoral Small Grants

UCL GC and Doctoral School
£2,000 for cross-disciplinary partnerships between pairs of UCL doctoral students. Supporting work in the new UCL Research Domain areas: Space and Microbiology.

Apply by 9 am, Monday 26 November 2018

This ‘Supplementary Call’ promotes cross-disciplinary interaction between researchers at doctoral and post-doctoral levels. It is designed to support activities that relate to either of the two recently-created Domains: Space and Microbiology. Awards of £2,000 are available for pairs of students who want to carry out activities that relate to Space or Microbiology.

 Find out more and apply

Embedded Inequalities: Call for Proposals

Embedded Inequalities
Apply by 9am, Monday 3 December 2018

£2,500 for cross-disciplinary applications that address structural and relational inequalities. These inequalities often overlap and exacerbate each other. We are looking for cross-disciplinary collaborations that offer novel approaches to the problem of embedded inequalities.

Find out more and apply

Health Systems: Call for Proposals

Health Systems
Apply by 9am, Monday 3 December 2018

£2,500 for proposals that use a cross-disciplinary approach to investigate the ways in "health systems" can ensure that medical advances are translated into significant gains for effective and equitable healthcare.
Pre-submission event on 16th November: register here.

Find out more and apply

Coming Soon: Social Impacts of AI

Social Impacts of AI
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 artifical intelligence.

Check back for more details.


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