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UCL Grand Challenges

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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 to support community building, societal impacts, and engagement beyond UCL. 

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

UCL Grand Challenges Special Initiative Funding 2020/21: Place, Age, and the UN SDGs

Logo of special initiatives 2020-21
The call for funding under the themes of 'Place: Equality & Prosperity', 'Age & Society: Life through Generations', and 'UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement' is now closed.

Place: Equality & Prosperity

Experiences of inequalities are inextricably intertwined with place. The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly highlighted – and exacerbated - heath, economic, educational, and social inequalities. When examining such societal inequities and as we look toward ‘building forward better’, the special initiative of Place: Equality & Prosperity will support projects that adopt a place based lens to allow for sharper focus on the intersection of geographies with wider structural disadvantages.

Age & Society: Life through Generations

Age is a critical lens through which to understand the complexity of our societies, and to ensure their sustainable and equitable development. This special initiative aims to support collaborations addressing the relationship between the life course and individual experiences of life and wellbeing, and examining issues relating to Age in a wider social, political, and economic context.

UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement

In partnership with UCL's Global Engagement Office and using insights from interventions in Sessions 1, 11 and 12 of the UCL SDGs conference, Beyond Boundaries, this special initiative focuses on achievement of goal targets within the framings of Wellbeing, Infrastructure, and Natural Environment.

UCL Grand Challenges Doctoral Students' Small Grants 2020/21

Logo of doctoral students grants 2020-21
The 2020/21 call for Grand Challenges Doctoral Students Small Grants is now closed.

Green Recovery from COVID-19

UCL Environment Domain and UCL Grand Challenges Logos
The global coronavirus pandemic exists alongside overwhelming environmental threats: including climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. As governments begin to think about COVID-19 recovery and management, there is an opportunity to deliver transformational change worldwide, which could include a transition towards a sustainable society.

In partnership with the UCL Environment Domain, we are looking for innovative cross-disciplinary partnerships that address the challenges of a green recovery from COVID-19.

This call 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 2021/22 will open soon. 

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 2020/21 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