UCL Grand Challenges


Adolescent Lives Funding Announced

5 March 2018

Twenty bids to a value of £127,000, came from Applicants across eight of UCL's eleven faculties. Nine awards have now been made to a value of £38.9k for the work of nine pairs of applicants representing six faculties

Following the restructuring and expansion of UCL's Grand Challenges programme, relaunched in 2016, a number of 'mega-themes' - stretching across all six Grand Challenges - were identified. Societies Response to Ageing and Adolescent Lives were the first pan-Grand Challenges mega-themes to progress to the stage of special calls, in the current academic year, for cross-disciplinary activity proposals from the UCL research community. Further mega-theme calls will follow in due course, addressing Migration & Displacement, Transformative Cities and Access & Participation.

Adolescent Lives

Pairs of UCL researchers from different disciplines applied for funding, including external partners (academic or 3rd Sector), as relevant to the project proposed. 'Disruptive thinking' ideas were encouraged, in keeping with the priorities of the Campaign for UCL. The call was not restricted to London-based activities; proposed projects could focus on Youth in other parts of the UK or overseas. Projects based in London or elsewhere in the UK were encouraged to generate insights with global implications. Two tiers of funding were available: a lower tier of £2,000 to £3,000 available to applicants from doctoral student level and upwards in seniority; and a higher tier of up to £10,000 open to postdoctoral research associate applicants and upwards.  Applicants were encouraged to address one or more of three themes: 'What is adolescence?', 'Youth prospects' and 'Youth identities'. 

Twenty bids to a value of £127,000, came from Applicants across eight of UCL's eleven faculties. Nine awards have now been made to a value of £38.9k for the work of nine pairs of applicants representing six faculties: 

  • Population Health Sciences (three 1st Applicant awardees, total award value £15.1k), 
  • Brain Sciences (two 1st Appt, £9.4k), 
  • Arts & Humanities (one 1st Appt, £6.3k), 
  • Institute of Education (two 1st Appt, £4.8k),  
  • Social and Historical Sciences (one 1st Appt, £3.3k).

Eight of the successful bids addressed 'Youth identities,' three of which also addressed 'Youth prospects'. One awarded proposal addressed 'What is adolescence?'

Funded researchers' reports on the outcomes and impacts of their work will be included in an overall Grand Challenges synthesis highlighting the insights gained from the Grand Challenges Adolescent Lives initiative, targeted for publication in 2018-19.

Following the awards made in response to applications to the Adolescent Lives competition, Professor Iain Borden (Bartlett Architecture) received an ad hoc award of £1.8k for his international skateboarding conference, Pushing Boarders, 1-3 June 2018.

The full list of awards made under the Adolescent Lives mega-theme:

ActivityAdolescent Lives themes addressed 1st applicant2nd applicant External partners Amount awarded
Forced migration and adolescent mental health: understanding the cultural determinants of mental health in a context of mass displacementYouth Prospects and Youth IdentitiesDr Delan Devakumar (NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Public Health), UCL Institute for Global HealthProfessor Henrietta Moore (Director, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity)D Fouad M Fouad (Assistant Prof, Epidemiol and Pop Health, American University of Beirut)
Joana Dabaj (Principal Coordinator, Catalytic Action)
A time of change? Harmonising the meaning of 'adolescence' between young people and health researchers What is Adolescence?Dr Emily Emmott (Early Career Researcher, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education)Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (Deputy Director, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience)Larissa Pople (Senior Researcher, The Children's Society)£2,567
Cannabis, adolescence and identity: beyond the 'stoner'Youth IdentitiesDr Claire Mokrysz and Dr Will Lawn (PDRAs, Clinical Psychophamacology Unit, UCL Clinical Educational & Health Psychology)Dr Georgia Black (PDRA, Applied Health Research, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health)Steven Towndrow (Patient and Public Involvement and Communications Officer, NIHR CLAHRC North Thames)£2,881
Beyond the 'engagement' paradigm: participating in youth lives in rural SomersetYouth Prospects and Youth IdentitiesDr Alison Macdonald (Teaching Fellow; Course Tutor MSc Social and Cultural Anthropology, UCL Anthropology)Lasse Johansson (Associate Staff: Course Tutor on the MA programme in Ethnographic & Documentary Filmmaking by Practice at UCL; Open City Docs School, UCL Anthropology)Sally Denehy (Teacher and education consultant, Sexey's School, Bruton, Somerset)£2,345
Autistic Adolescents' Use of Social MediaYouth IdentitiesDr William Mandy (Senior Lecturer, UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology)Professor Danny Miller (Professor of Anthropology, UCL Anthropology)Dr James Cusak (Director of Science, Autistica)£2,294
Adolescent Identities: The Untapped Power of Young Adult LiteratureYouth IdentitiesDr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold (Senior Lecturer, UCL Information Studies)Dr Laura Benton (PDRA, UCL Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education)Dr Leah Phillips (PDRA, Director - Young Adult Literature, Media, and Culture Research Network, Warwick University) Other external partners include Waterstones and The Book Trust£6,268
One Day Conference and Launch of UCL Report on Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in Schools Programme: An Impact EvaluationYouth Prospects and Youth IdentitiesDr Guy Roberts-Holmes (Senior Lecturer, Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education)Professor Russell Viner (Professor in Adolescent Health, UCL Institute of Child Health)Caroline Hounsell - Director of Partnerships, Product Development and Training at MHFA (Mental Health First Aid)- England£2,199
The "160 Characters" Partnership: Insight, impact, and innovation to enhance peer-to-peer mobile phone support interventions for adolescents living with HIV in South AfricaYouth IdentitiesDr Geordan Shannon (PhD Student, Research Assistant, UCL Institute for Global Health)Professor Maurice Biriotti (Hon Professor, UCL Provost and Vice-Provost Offices)Anna Nikita Simpson (Co-Founder and Director, SHM Foundation) Dr Sarah Fidler (Reader, Hon Consultant in HIV and GUM, Imperial College London) Dr Millicent Atunjunta (Social Behavioural Scientist, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, S Africa) Ursula Kajokaite (Product Consultant, Super Being Labs)£2,900
Expanding the social self through theatre in adolescents with autism: a pilot study  Youth IdentitiesDr Jamie Ward (PDRA, UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience)Dr Antonia Hamilton (Reader in Social Neuroscience, UCL ICN)Kelly Hunter (Director, Flute Theatre)£6,503

Read more on Adolescent lives​ →