UCL Grand Challenges


The programme landscape

The six Grand Challenges in the programme encourage, facilitate and support cross-disciplinary collaboration within UCL and external partnerships. Activities may be based on ideas stemming from 'bottom-up' grass-roots thinking or responses to 'top-down' GC programmatic priorities. Now more strategic than in its first, four-GCs phase, the programme emphasises Priority Themes within each Grand Challenge and Mega-themes stretching across all six GCs.

Our priorities

Our priorities

Each Grand Challenge has its own Priority Themes, represented by the coloured columns, as well as leading on one of the cross-cutting Mega-themes, denoted by the horizontal bands.

Priority Themes for each Grand Challenge

Each of the six Grand Challenges has identified Priority Themes: research areas within which its strategic work will be delivered. You can find out about each Grand Challenge's Priority Themes and the progress they are making on them, on its dedicated website:

Grand Challenge of Global Heath
Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities

Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing

Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding

Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology

Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality

We intend that each Grand Challenge Working Group will adopt and develop activities aligning with at least four Priority Themes during the academic year 2016-17.

Pan-Grand Challenge Mega-themes

In addition to within-GC Priority Themes, each Grand Challenge will lead on a cross-cutting Mega-theme. Over the next two academic years, with start-up activities in 2016-17, we aim to develop portfolios of 'cognate projects' responding to each Mega-theme, comprising contributions from each of the six GCs. The Mega-themes are:

  • Human Displacement, led by GCGH
  • Transformative Cities, led by GCSC
  • India Voices, led by GCCU
  • Adolescent Lives, led by GCHW
  • Access and Participation, led by GCJE
  • Food, led by GCTT