UCL Grand Challenges


Environment and Wellbeing

A total of £10,000 is now available for innovative, cross-disciplinary activities addressing the theme of Environment and Wellbeing.

Environment and wellbeing logo

Call for Proposals:
Academic Year 2018/19

Deadline: 12:00 (noon) on Friday 22 February 2019

We are now inviting researchers to apply for funding for activities under the Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing’s (GCHW) priority theme – Environment and Wellbeing.



In total, £10,000 of Grand Challenges funding is available to support activities through this initiative, for expenditure before 31 July 2019. External non-academic partners are welcome as a third partner, however 1st and 2nd applicants must be UCL researchers and must represent different disciplines.

Two tiers of funding are available:
Tier 1 – Led by a doctoral student (up to £2,500 per award)
Tier 2 – Led by a postdoctoral or more senior researcher (up to £5,000 per award)

Project outputs can include research or policy workshops, symposia or conferences; reports; preparatory or exploratory material towards larger grant applications; public and community engagement activities.

Download the call for proposals



Environment and Wellbeing as a GCHW priority theme provides opportunities for researchers across UCL to identify potential interdisciplinary topics as bases for further research, problematize current debates, and consider critical issues. For example, but not exclusively:

Making sense of complexity
Defining the concept of wellbeing can be problematic, as it includes subjective factors relating to quality of life, prosperity, and mental health. Therefore, how do we evaluate and monitor the impact of the natural and built environment on human and animal wellbeing? What are the measures of a healthy environment? How do different risks interact and compound one another (e.g. stress, air pollution, exposure to UV or chemicals)? 

Looking to the future
The goal of ensuring the wellbeing of individuals and populations has to be reconciled with demographic, economic, and urbanisation pressures, in order to create a sustainable and wellbeing-inducing future. What planning is needed to anticipate future developments and align stakeholder incentives? How do we design space that encourages healthy and safe behaviour, and builds a sense of community? How can we ensure equitable access to healthy environments (including access to energy, healthy food/water, and clean air)? Should the digital environment be regulated to promote more safety and inclusiveness?

Driving local improvement
UCL’s proposed Wild Bloomsbury initiative (as part of the new Sustainability Strategy) is a great example of planning as a response to local needs and opportunities, placing the university at the forefront of London’s greening agenda. Following this example, what initiatives can be proposed to encourage local ownership and stakeholder collaboration?

Proposals, however, need not be limited to these themes or topics. Additional resources that may further stimulate research ideas and contribute to proposals, include:


Step 1

Download and complete the application form.
Save the form using the format:
"Environment and Wellbeing" - [First Applicant Family Name] and [Second Applicant Family Name]".

Download the application form

Step 2

Register your project using the submission form.
Upload your completed application form.
Save and submit.

Upload your completed form