UCL Grand Challenges


Funding for UCL researchers

Funding opportunities through the Grand Challenges for UCL researchers and academics.

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

Coming Soon: Dynamics of Globalisation

Call for Proposals: Academic Year 2018-19

We will soon be inviting UCL researchers to apply for awards of up to £2,500 under the Dynamics of Globalisation call.

Check back for more details soon.

Adolescent Lives: the new UCL Grand Challenges mega-theme for 2017-18

UCL researchers (including doctoral students) are invited to respond to a call for proposals addressing the GC mega-theme of Adolescent Lives.


Two tiers of funding (£2,000 to £3,000, and £6,000 to £10,000) are available for projects that explore:

  • What is adolescence? - 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 Identities - How, and in what ways, do young people define themselves? How are identities created? How is identity and selfhood fluid?

Eligibility and application process

Proposals must be a collaboration of different disciplines among UCL researchers, and can also include external partners. We actively encourage and seek to support projects that create relationships with youth groups and, more generally, community groups. Activities should be planned to occur before Friday 28 September 2018, the awarded funds being spent by the end of UCL's 2017-2018 financial year (by 31 July 2018).

To apply, please download and complete the application form.

Download the Application Form

Completed application forms should be emailed to:

Kasia Koprowska-Diez (k.diez@ucl.ac.uk) copying Dr Ian Scott (ian.scott@ucl.ac.uk) and Nenna Orie Chuku (nenna.chuku.17@ucl.ac.uk

Application deadline: Wednesday 31 January 2018

Questions and enquires should be sent to Dr Ian Scott (ian.scott@ucl.ac.uk)


Society's Response to Ageing: Call for Proposals for Academic Year 2017-18

Researchers based at UCL are invited to submit proposals for support of events addressing the broad theme of 'Society's Response to Ageing'. This pan-Grand Challenges initiative will provide six grants of up to £2,500 - addressing the theme from the perspective of each major Grand Challenge (GC) - Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding, Human Wellbeing, Transformative Technology and Justice & Equality. Major research questions identified and insights generated by each GC-framed event will be gathered into a major report for presentation at a planned 2018-19 UCL-Japan Embassy symposium on the Super-Ageing Society.

To apply, please download and complete the application form. Completed application forms should be emailed to: Kasia Koprowska-Diez (k.diez@ucl.ac.uk) copying Dr Ian Scott (ian.scott@ucl.ac.uk)  

The closing date for applications is Monday 29 January 2018. 

French Embassy-funded Collaborative Science & Technology Workshops 

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. 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). The closing date for applications is Monday 15th January, 2018.

Find out more and apply for this French Embassy funding

Funding opportunities past and future

There have been a number of funding opportunities for UCL academics through the Grand Challenges, including our annual call for Small Grants.

Small Grants

Grand Challenges awards for small grant-supported cross-disciplinary collaborative activities in 2017-18 have been made every year since the programme began in 2009. The latest awards were made in June 2017.

Find out about the latest Grand Challenges Small Grants awarded

The next call for Grand Challenges small grant proposals, for collaborative activities in 2018-19, will be announced in January 2018.

UCL 2034 Grants

In 2017, we awarded 8 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, awarding up to £10,000 to successful projects.

Find out about the grants awarded linked to UCL 2034

Doctoral School small grants

Over £29,000 was given to 16 projects in the first ever Grand Challenges small grants scheme aligned to the UCL Doctoral School, in 2017.

The scheme offered awards of up to £2,000 for pairs of doctoral students from different faculties for research-informed, societally relevant, cross-disciplinary activities to be undertaken in academic year 2017-18.

Read more about the projects we funded through the Doctoral School scheme

UCL - HKU partnership awards

UCL connects with the Hong Kong University (HKU) Strategic Partnerships Fund through the Grand Challenges programme. Facilitated by the UCL Global Engagement Office, a new (2016-17) inter-institutional partnership with HKU encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration in support of research addressing global challenges, particularly issues affecting Hong Kong and its region of Asia.

Successful UCL applicants received up to £10k, while their HKU counterparts received up to HK$100k, facilitating each side's activity in a joint study.

Find out about past awards made under the UCL - HKU partnership