UCL Grand Challenges


Recovery from COVID-19: An update from UCL Grand Challenges Director Dr Ian Scott

13 May 2020

UCL Grand Challenges have launched a special initiative calling for expressions of interest in its coordinated UCL research endeavour focused on societal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image of a coronavirus cell

The initiative is designed to harness the expertise of researchers from across the university whose core research activity has been disrupted by the nationwide lockdown and campus closure, and aims to mobilise UCL’s distinctive capacity to tackle societally complex problems through the cross-disciplinary sharing of ideas and development of pathways to solutions.

The UCL Grand Challenges team and I are delighted by the responses that we have received.

Over 250 Expressions of Interest (EOIs) involving more than 300 researchers were submitted from every faculty across UCL, covering a vast range of topics relating to COVID-19 and its impacts; from youth attitudes towards the virus and its impact on urban slums, to lessons from religious communities and astronauts. 

Many proposals were also received on creating an equitable economic recovery – with a significant number on the topic of inequalities more broadly. Many also focus on the idea of community, and how it can help to mitigate negative effects of the virus and provide us with a common vision for a resilient and sustainable future.

Through engagement in urgent action, we’re confident that our researchers - collaborating where possible and appropriate with external academic and non-academic partners - will be able to use this opportunity to make a significant contribution to our university’s united front against the pandemic, ensuring that UCL’s impact on recovery from COVID-19 is greater than the sum of its component parts.

The Grand Challenges team are now working through the EOIs; we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who submitted proposals - we will be in touch soon.