UCL Grand Challenges


UCL Grand Challenges Awards more than £92,000 in Small Grants

2 December 2021

UCL Grand Challenges has awarded £92,833 in funding to 19 projects under its annual Small Grants Scheme for 2021-22.

an image of the grand challenges small grants icon

The Grand Challenges annual Small Grants provides seed funding to grassroots, innovative ideas. Researchers from across UCL’s 11 faculties were awarded funding for their projects linking to one of the six Grand Challenge themes: Cultural Understanding; Global Health; Human Wellbeing; Justice & Equality; Sustainable Cities; and Transformative Technology. 

Cultural Understanding

A novel community-based digital intervention to address ethnic inequalities in Covid-19 vaccine confidence (£5,000) - Dr Shoba Poduval (Primary Care & Population Health, Population Health Sciences) and Dr Alison Hicks (Information Studies, Arts & Humanities).

Intercultural Competence Project (£5,000) - Dr Silvia Colaiacomo (Arena Centre, Institute of Education) and Lina Kamenova (Student Support and Wellbeing).

An App to help memorise 1000 Chinese characters in a revolutionary way (£4792) - Professor Sharon Morris (Slade School of Fine Art, Arts & Humanities) and Dr Alexandra Constantinescu (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Brain Sciences).

Global Health

Refining a predictive model for the diagnosis of neonatal sepsis in low resource settings (£4879) - Professor Mario Cortina-Borja (Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Population Health Sciences) and Nel Swanepoel (Centre for Advanced Research Computing).

Proof of concept of a simple intervention to decrease the pathogen load in well water for a Bangladesh community (£4900) - Professor Joanne Santini (Structural & Molecular Biology/Biosciences, Life Sciences) and Professor Sarah Edwards (Science & Technology Studies, Mathematical & Physical Sciences).

Design of a tool to measure stigma experienced by women and girls with disabilities in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (SDG 5 - Gender Equality) (£4949)- Professor Katrina Scior (Clinical Educational & Health Psychology, Brain Sciences) and Dr Maria Kett (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare, Population Health Sciences).

Human Wellbeing

Building Back Better: Developing new hybrid learning spaces for post-pandemic higher education (£4990) - Professor Allison Littlejohn (Culture, Communications and Media, UCL IOE) and Benjamin Meunier (Library Services).

Going to the Shopping Center to Fix My Cataract (£5000) - Dr Evangelia Chrysikou (The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, The Bartlett) and Professor Paul Foster (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Brain Sciences).

Connecting behavioural economics and environmental sciences: insights on willingness to pay for environmental benefits across spatial scales (£4980) - Dr Silvia Ceausu (Centre for Biodiversityand Environment Research (CBER), Life Sciences) and Professor Lorenzo Lotti (Institute for Sustainable Resources, The Bartlett).

Transitioning to strength: investigating barriers and enablers to resistance training at the transition to retirement (£3532) - Dr Snehal Pinto Pereira (Targeted Intervention, Medical Sciences) and Dr Rachael Frost (Primary Care and Population Health, Population Health Sciences).

Medical Heritage, Green Infrastructure and Community Wellbeing - A Pilot Collaboration (£4956) - Dr Johanna Dale (History, Social & Historical Sciences) and Dr Carla Washbourne (STEaPP, Engineering Sciences).

Justice & Equality

Exploring women's night walking safety in London from built environment perspective: Deep learning approach (£4865) - Dr Yuerong Zhang (Bartlett School of Planning, The Bartlett) and Dr Chen Qu (Department of Statistical Science, Mathematical & Physical Sciences).

How can we improve South-North collaborations in energy and development research? (£4999.96) - Professor Yacob Mulugetta (STEaPP, Engineering Sciences) and Ms Jennifer Cronin (Institute for Sustainable Resources, The Bartlett).

Democratic assets: Public assets declarations of candidates to the Constitutional Convention in Chile (£5000) - Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia (Political Science, Social & Historical Sciences) and Dr Marcos Marcos González Hernando (Social Research Institute, UCL IOE).

Appearance: a video artwork addressing judicial gender and diversity (£4990) - Carey Young (Slade School of Fine Art, Arts & Humanities) and Professor Cheryl Thomas (UCL Laws, Laws).

Sustainable Cities

Non-sewer off-grid solutions for urban living: feasibility analysis of a circular model for composting toilets on Canal boats in London (£5000) - Dr Luiza Campos (CEGE, Engineering Sciences) and Dr Priti Parikh (Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, The Bartlett).

Digital Twin Creation for Urban Building Energy Systems (£5000) - Dr Rui Tang (Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, The Bartlett) and Dr Jinghao Xue (Department of Statistical Science, Mathematical & Physical Sciences).

Transformative Technology

A biodiversity-friendly brew? Using new technology to quantify the impact of coffee production on migratory birds (£5000) - Dr Marius Somveille (GEE / CBER / Biosciences, Life Sciences) and Professor Mathias Disney (Geography, Social & Historical Sciences).

Assessment of the reliability and validity of a micro-sensor for physical frailty evaluation (£5000) - Dr Darren Player *Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences, Medical Sciences and Dr Terence Leung (Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Engineering Sciences).