UCL Grand Challenges


UCL Grand Challenges announces over £220,000 in awards

25 February 2021

UCL Grand Challenges has awarded a total of £222,656 in funding to 36 projects to stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration across UCL and beyond and generate impactful solutions to a range of societal issues.

an image of the word funding awarded with ucl logos

Almost £95,000 has been awarded to 11 projects that seek to facilitate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through a joint call with the UCL Global Engagement Office. Supported projects include those exploring the role of the humanities in achieving the Global Goals, developing a shared agenda for the Goals on biodiversity and climate change, and undertaking participatory action research art to connect communities with the Goals.

A further 10 projects have been funded through Special Initiatives calls under the themes of Place: Prosperity & Equality - with projects supported focusing on London, across the UK, and internationally, and of which three focus specifically on COVID-19 and place - and Age & Society: Life Through Generations - including projects exploring the relation between age, creativity, and wellbeing. One of the projects, focusing on the co-design of living environments with individuals with dementia, was jointly funded by UCL Innovation and Enterprise.

Over £27,000 has also been awarded under a joint initiative with the Environment Domain  exploring a ‘Green Recovery from COVID-19’, with the three projects supported focusing on governance, buildings and cities.

12 projects have also received funding through the Doctoral Students’ Small Grants. Almost £26,000 has been awarded to PhD students from different UCL faculties, coming together to explore a range of topics from different angles; topics include Science Communication, AI, access to healthcare, dementia-friendly communities, informal settlements and peace movements, among others.

Dr James Paskins, Deputy Director for UCL Grand Challenges, said: “We were overwhelmed by the response to these calls, especially in light of the challenges and pressures that the UCL community is facing because of COVID-19. The creativity that people have shown in using digital tools and remote working to continue research, build new collaborations, and devise novel responses to the Grand Challenges, despite the current restrictions, has been impressive.

By working in partnership with the Global Engagement Office, the Doctoral School and the Environment Domain and thanks to a generous donation from Mr Victor Chu CBE, Chair of UCL Council, we have been able to vastly increase the number of projects we have supported this year. We look forward to sharing the insights and impacts from the incredible range of projects we have supported.”

UCL Grand Challenges will announce its small grants scheme for the academic year 2021/22 next month. To see examples of impacts generated by projects previously funded by Grand Challenges, visit our case studies page.