UCL Grand Challenges


Small Grants awarded to UCL academics to tackle the world's Grand Challenges

4 August 2017


The UCL Grand Challenges have awarded over £60,000 in funding to 15 cross-disciplinary projects, bringing academics, post-doctoral researchers and staff of Professional Services departments from across the University together to tackle some of the major problems affecting the world. Pairs of researchers from different Faculties, or from a Faculty and Professional Services, applied for Small Grant funding for activities relating to the Grand Challenges' Priority Themes, including Brexit, Adolescent Wellbeing, Access & Participation and Food. Successful applicants have been awarded up to £5000 to complete projects in the coming academic year, 2017-18.

Read more about the Priority Themes for the UCL Grand Challenges

Successful projects include a study of the language used in political campaigning during the EU referendum, an examination of legal costs as barriers to justice and research into indoor heat distribution and comfort. Researchers involved come from all 11 UCL faculties and are at a range of levels in their careers, from postdoctoral researchers to Professors. It is hoped that these projects are the start of intense new collaborations across a whole range of disciplines at UCL. At the same time, the ultimate purpose of these Small Grants is to see the knowledge they generate achieve real-world influence.

The full list of Small Grants funded by the Grand Challenges, along with the two leading members of the project team and the UCL faculty they belong to, are shown below.

Global Health

From wild plants to canned sardines: change in diet and nutritional health of displaced Pygmy hunter-gatherers in Congo-Brazzaville

  • Dr Gul Deniz Salali, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Andrew Seal, Population Health Sciences

A tool to measure adolescent mental health in low- and middle-income countries: validating the Brief Problem Checklist in India

  • Dr Kelly Clarke, Population Health Sciences
  • Professor Glyn Lewis, Brain Sciences

Human Wellbeing

Social Empowerment of Women in Immersive Virtual Environments

  • Dr Eva Krumhuber, Brain Sciences
  • Professor Anthony Steed, Engineering Sciences

Enhancing well-being and resilience in junior doctors

  • Dr Antonia Rich, Medical Sciences
  • Dr Anna Cox, Brain Sciences

Between Spaces: Museums and Mental Wellbeing in Young People

  • Dr Humera Iqbal, Institute of Education
  • Dean Veall, Grant Museum of Zoology (Professional Services)

Researching the intersection between the neurobiology and sociology of sleep and sleeplessness in adolescents

  • Kimberley Whitehead, Life Sciences
  • Professor Matthew Beaumont, Arts & Humanities

Sustainable Cities

Thermal Comfort and Contextual Thermography

  • Dr Adam Cooper, Engineering Sciences
  • Professor David Shipworth, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment

Accelerating the uptake of sustainable urban transport policies and land use planning in the Global South

  • Professor Caren Levy, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment
  • Dr Clemence Cavoli, Engineering Sciences

Belfast Peacewalls Orientation & Routemapping Centre

  • James O'Leary, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment
  • Kieren Reed, Arts & Humanities

Cultural Understanding

What space for linguistic diversity in Brexit Britain? A study of political campaigning material, media reports and migrant experiences in the Brexit Referendum and 2017 General Election

  • Dr Sian Preece, Institute of Education
  • Dr Maki Kimura, Social & Historical Sciences

Justice & Equality

UK Network on the Prohibition of Torture

  • Dr Par Engstrom, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Kimberley Trapp, Laws

Social justice for women migrants and refugees: engaging, communicating and improving access to higher education

  • Dr Claudia Lapping, Institute of Education
  • Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Social & Historical Sciences

Barriers to Justice? Legal Costs and Accessing the Judicial Review Courts

  • Dr Lisa Vanhala, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Tom Hickman, Laws

Transformative Technology

Using the Past to preserve the Future: New spatial technology to study the biogeography and medicinal properties of Horsegram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), an important Indian pulse crop

  • Dr Charlene Murphy, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Professor Michael Heinrich, Life Sciences

Algorithms and Fairness: What are the limits of predictive algorithms in public policy?

  • Dr Julie George, Population Health Sciences
  • Professor Sofia Olhede, Mathematical & Physical Sciences

We will be keeping the UCL community and the world updated on the progress of the Small Grant projects throughout the academic year.