UCL Grand Challenges



We lead strategic collaborations at UCL and with partners in London, the UK, and globally to develop solutions to pressing societal issues and encourage cross-disciplinary and cross-boundary thinking.

UCL Strategic Partnerships

Co-Production Collective
Putting together puzzle pieces

The Removing Boundaries workshop (with Co-Production Collective) brought together UCL staff & students with members of the Co-Production Collective, the workshop explored the challenges, solutions & best practice in publicly engaged research.

Find out more about Removing Boundaries

Public Policy

The UCL Communicating Climate Science Policy Commission aimed to identify gaps in climate change communication and policy and create targeted interventions which result in significant impact. The commission brought together members with a unique skill set and decades-long expertise in all aspects of climate change, from across academic disciplines, policy, business and the media. 

> Find out more about UCL Communicating Climate Science Policy Commission


London Partnerships

an image of the structurally unsound report cover - a plaster covering a crack in the ground
Resolution Foundation

Exploring Inequalities, a year-long project in collaboration with the Resolution Foundation and over fifty external partners drawn from academia, third sector, and business, examined structural inequalities in UK society.

> Read more on Exploring Structural Inequalities

an image of the AI & Future of Work text from UCL Public Policy, UCL Grand Challenges and the British Academy
British Academy

A collaboration between UCL and the British Academy to address critical questions for policy, business, practitioners and society on the ways in which AI could and should impact the future quality and equity of work in the UK, with a particular focus on England and Wales. 

> Read more on AI and the Future of Work: A UCL and British Academy Collaboration

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 
an image of a CBI report cover featuring a woman walking across a road

Created in partnership with UCL Public Policy and law firm Travers Smith, UCL’s Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality collaborated on the CBI London Business Survey 2020. The survey drew together the views of nearly 200 of the capital’s business leaders, covering topics including Covid-19, Brexit, sustainability and equality. The survey identified a clear commitment from businesses to build back from the pandemic with a focus on innovation, employee wellbeing and inclusivity in the wake of the pandemic, whilst pushing London towards its net-zero ambitions to address climate change.

> Read the CBI London Business Survey 2020

UCL Academy

UCL's collaborative work with UCL Academy includes close ties between the Grand Challenges programme and the Academy's 'Connected Curriculum'. GCSE pupils at the Academy complete a range of creative products aligned with UCL’s six Grand Challenges themes

> Read more on Seven Years of the Grand Challenges and the Connected Curriculum


UK Partnerships

The Lancet
The Lancet

Thanks to our expertise in varied fields and support from the Grand Challenges, UCL has been able to take the lead on many high-level Commissions which have their work published in The Lancet. Grand Challenges also organises the annual Lancet Lecture.

UCL and the Lancet (including links to the lectures and commissions)

County Durham
an image of a sacriston sign

UCL Grand Challenges has supported pilot work focused on the village of Sacriston in County Durham and undertaken in conjunction with Durham Miners' Association, to develop an interdisciplinary, multi-annual, large-scale programme of ‘deep-place’ research and action to obtain a rich, historically-grounded understanding of the long-term trajectory of a so-called 'left-behind' place. Building networks with local actors the initiative is considering how new solutions aimed at improving social and economic conditions can be co-produced with local communities across the UK using expertise at UCL and elsewhere.

> Read more on Understanding 'Left-behind' Places: Developing a Deep Place Study 


Grand Challenges is developing partnerships with the University of Lincoln including joint funding doctoral student awards, building a collaborative workstream on agri-food tech and identifying shared areas of expertise.


International Partnerships

French Embassy

UCL Grand Challenges has hosted the UCL-French Embassy Conférence-Débat series since 2010. The series has brought together eminent French academics with UCL's finest minds to discuss topics such as 'Engineering & Health', 'The State of Nature', 'Towards Decarbonised Economies' and ‘Space’.
From 2012-19 the Embassy funded an annual competition for Collaborative Science & Technology Workshops between research groups at UCL and their counterparts at universities and research institutions in France. These workshops have provided the starting-point for new research collaborations and grant proposals through national and EU research funding bodies.

UCL-French Embassy Science & Technology awards

University of Hong Kong

The UCL-HKU Strategic Partnership Awards are a joint initiative with the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The awards encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration in support of research that addresses global challenges, particularly issues affecting Hong Kong and its region of Asia.

Hong Kong University and Grand Challenges

The Embassy of Japan and Japanese universities

UCL and Japanese universities are coming together in their shared determination to address the challenge of an ageing society. Japan's experience as the world's most long-lived society, and its great need for solutions, exemplifies the urgency of the problem, not least in regard to dementia care.
Through Grand Challenges and in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, early in 2019, UCL hosted a major UCL-Japan conference on 'The Super-Ageing Society' jointly with Kyoto University and other Japanese universities. 

> Read more about Society's Response to Ageing awards: paving the way to major UCL - Japan conference