UCL Grand Challenges


Our Work

The UCL Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding has funded over £100,000 in small grants to UCL researchers, hosted events in London and around the world including roundtables, seminars and public events, and helped create the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities

Details of awards are listed below - click on the relevant academic year for further information.


Small Grants

'Correct the Criminal': Conservation and Development interventions with the Pardhi community of Central India (£7,310)

  • Dr Sahil Nijihan (Anthropology, Social & Historical Sciences)
  • Dr Kartikeya Tripathi (Security and Crime Science, Engineering Sciences)

De-weaponizing Identities and Education in Armed Conflict and Disaster (£7,000)

  • Dr Laila Kadiwal (Education Practice Society, Institute of Education)
  • Professor Peter Sammonds (Institute for Disaster and Risk Reduction, Mathematical and Physical Sciences)

Doctoral Students' Small Grants

Geographies of Film: The Map and the Border (£2,000)

  • Miss Anneke Kampman (Slade School of Fine Art)
  • Miss Emilia Weber (Geography, Social & Historical Sciences)

Other Funding

Brexit/YouGov Survey: Legitimacy of Suspending Parliament (£5,280)

  • Professor Christina Pagel (Clinical Operational Research Unit, Maths & Physical Sciences)

UK-Nordic Mobility Network (£2,000)

  • Dr Elettra Carbone (Department of Scandinavian Studies, SSEES)
  • Dr Riitta Valijarvi (Principal Teaching Fellow, SSEES



Small Grants

Can Different Psychologically Framed Narratives Influence Attitudes towards Immigration for Leave and Remain voters from the 2016 EU Referendum? (£4,000)

  • Dr Lee de-Wit, UCL Psychology & Language Sciences, Brain Sciences
  • Dr Alan Renwick, UCL School of Political Sciences, Social & Historical Sciences

Cuisine, Culture and Consequences: Food and diet in Eastern Europe from cultural and public health perspectives (£3,740)

  • Dr Denes Stefler, UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, Population Health Sciences
  • Dr Daniel Brett, UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies, Social & Historical Sciences

Special Initiative - Dynamics of Globalisation

The Future of Residential Interrelationship in the UK: The case study of the Israeli and the Iranian communities (£2,500)

  • Dr Anahid Basiri, Centre for Applied Spatial Analysis, Bartlett Built Environment 
  • Dr Shlomit Flint, Centre for Applied Spatial Analysis, Bartlett Built Environment

Social Networks, Social Media: Digital collecting and anthropologies of the archive in Vanuatu (£2,500)

  • Professor Haidy Geismar, Anthropology, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Andrew Flinn, Information Studies, Arts & Humanities

Exploring the Dynamics of Globalisation in Coastal Communities: Identifying new theories and methods of researching youth attitudes towards mobility and migration (£2,417.42)

  • Dr Avril Keating, Education, Practice & Society, UCL Institute of Education
  • Professor Claire Cameron,  Thomas Coram Research Unit, Social Science, UCL Institute of Education

Speculating on the Global City: Canary Wharf and new imaginaries of contemporary London (£2,452.40)

  • Dr Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Social Science, UCL Institute of Education
  • Dr Andrew Harris, Geography, Social & Historical Sciences

World Form? Latin American cultural magazines in a global circuit (£2,500)

  • Dr Claire Lindsey, School of European Languages & Culture, Arts & Humanities
  • Dr Maria Chiara D'Argenio, School of European Languages & Culture, Arts & Humanities

Data Science and Digital Cultural Heritage: facilitating new connections between the disciplines and professions that can transform the Global Data Context (£2,250)

  • Dr Julianne Nyhan, Information Studies, Arts & Humanities
  • Dr Tessa Hauswedell, School of European Languages & Culture, Arts & Humanities

Globalisation and Inter-ethnic Trust in Post-Socialist Madedonia: A preliminary investigation (£2,199)

  • Dr Luca Uberti, School of Slavonic & East European Studies, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Jan Germen Janmaat, Education, Practice & Society, UCL Institute of Education

Other Funding

Laughter as a Political Tool: Zunar in Malaysia (£200)

  • Albert Brenchart Aguilar, Institute of Advanced Studies
  • Alice Rudge, Institute of Advanced Studies

Small Grants

What Space for Linguistic Diversity in Brexit Britain? A study of political campaigning material, media reports and migrant experiences in the Brexit Referendum and 2017 General Election (£3,980)

  • Dr Sian Preece, Culture, Communication & Media, UCL Institute of Education
  • Dr Maki Kimura, School of Political Sciences, Arts & Humanities

Doctoral Student Small Grants

Beyond Medical Practice: Cultural and Linguistic Training of Refugee Doctors for Integration and Employment in the UK

  • Khetam Al Sharou, PhD student in Centre for Translation Studies, Arts & Humanities
  • Ceri Butler, PhD student in Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, Population Health Sciences

The Usage of Moving Image as a Scientific Tool in Technology versus an Entertainment Tool in Art - International Interdisciplinary Conference

  • Victoria Baltag, PhD student in Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry, Arts & Humanities
  • Zora Kostadinova, PhD student in School of Slavonic and East European Studies, Social & Historical Sciences

Traditional Herbal Knowledge in the 21st century: Research Challenges and Future Prospects

  • Ka Yui Kum, PhD student in School of Pharmacy, Life Sciences
  • Elizabeth Elliot, PhD student in Department of Anthropology, Social & Historical Sciences

Special Initiative - Adolescent Lives

Forced Migration and Adolescent Mental Health: understanding the cultural determinants of mental health in a context of mass displacement (£9,920)

  • Dr Delan Devakumar, UCL Institute for Global Health
  • Professor Henrietta Moore, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity    
  • D Fouad M Fouad, American University of Beirut
  • Joana Dabaj, Catalytic Action

A Time of Change? Harmonising the meaning of 'adolescence' between young people and health researchers (£2,567)

  • Dr Emily Emmott, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education   
  • Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Larissa Pople, Senior Researcher, The Children's Society   

Cannabis, Adolescence and Identity: beyond the 'stoner' (£2,881)

  • Dr Claire Mokrysz, Clinical Psychophamacology Unit, UCL Clinical Educational & Health Psychology
  • Dr Will Lawn, Clinical Psychophamacology Unit, UCL Clinical Educational & Health Psychology
  • Dr Georgia Black, Applied Health Research, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health    
  • Steven Towndrow, Patient and Public Involvement and Communications Officer, NIHR CLAHRC North Thames  

Beyond the 'Engagement' Paradigm: participating in youth lives in rural Somerset (£2,345)

  • Dr Alison Macdonald, Social and Cultural Anthropology, UCL Anthropology    
  • Lasse Johansson, Associate Staff: Course Tutor on Ethnographic & Documentary Filmmaking by Practice at UCL; Open City Docs School, UCL Anthropology   
  • Sally Denehy, Teacher and education consultant, Sexey's School, Bruton, Somerset  

Autistic Adolescents' Use of Social Media (£2,294)

  • Dr William Mandy, UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology   
  • Professor Danny Miller, UCL Anthropology 
  • Dr James Cusak, Director of Science, Autistica

Adolescent Identities: The Untapped Power of Young Adult Literature  (£6,268)

  • Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, UCL Information Studies
  • Dr Laura Benton,UCL Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education 
  • Dr Leah Phillips, (PDRA, Director - Young Adult Literature, Media, and Culture Research Network, Warwick University 
  • External partners including Waterstones and The Book Trust 

One Day Conference and Launch of UCL Report on Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in Schools Programme: An Impact Evaluation (£2,199)

  • Dr Guy Roberts-Holmes, Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education
  • Professor Russell Viner, Adolescent Health, UCL Institute of Child Health  
  • Caroline Hounsell, Director of Partnerships, Product Development and Training at MHFA (Mental Health First Aid)- England    

The "160 Characters" Partnership: Insight, impact, and innovation to enhance peer-to-peer mobile phone support interventions for adolescents living with HIV in South Africa (£2,900)

  • Dr Geordan Shannon, UCL Institute for Global Health    
  • Professor Maurice Biriotti, Honorary Professor, UCL Provost and Vice-Provost Offices    
  • Anna Kydd, Co-Founder and Director, SHM Foundation
  • Dr Sarah Fidler, Hon Consultant in HIV and GUM, Imperial College London 
  • Dr Millicent Atunjunta, Social Behavioural Scientist, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, South Africa
  • Ursula Kajokaite, Product Consultant, Super Being Labs  

Expanding the Social Self through Theatre in Adolescents with Autism: a pilot study (£6,503)

  • Dr Jamie Ward, UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience 
  • Dr Antonia Hamilton, Social Neuroscience, UCL ICN   
  • Kelly Hunter, Director, Flute Theatre  

In addition, Professor Iain Borden (Bartlett School of Architecture) received an ad hoc award of £1,800 for an international skateboarding conference, Pushing Boarders, which was held at UCL from 1-3 June 2018.


Small Grants 

UCL Bi/Multilingualism Information and Education Service (£4,000)

  • Dr. Froso Argyri, Linguistics, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, Brain Sciences 
  • Professor Wei Li, Culture, Communication & Media; Centre for Applied Linguistics, Institute of Education 

Crisis Translation: Measuring health communications with disaster-affected communities (£3,995)

  • Dr Federico Marco Federici, Centre for Translation Studies, CMII, SELCS, Arts & Humanities 
  • Professor David Alexander, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, Mathematical & Physical Sciences 

Space of Refuge (£4,000)

  • Professor Murray Fraser, School of Architecture, Bartlett 
  • Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Department of Geography, Social & Historical Sciences 

Fostering Community Exchange through Citizen Science and the DIY Chemistry of Food: development testing of key protocols and equipment for new interdisciplinary, undergraduate course (£4,000)

  • Mr Carl Gombrich, Arts and Sciences BASc, Arts & Humanities 
  • Dr Kat Austen, Department of Chemistry, Mathematical & Physical Sciences 

Curating Heads: Critical Perspectives on Human Remains Research (£4,000)

  • Dr Alice Stevenson, Curator, Public and Cultural Engagement (PACE) 
  • Professor Mark Thomas, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, Life Sciences 

Small Grants

The World of UCL 1828-1948 - London's Global University (£3,925)

  • Dr Caroline Bressey, UCL Geography, Social & Historical Sciences    
  • Dr Anne Welsh, UCL Information Studies, Arts & Humanities

'Fundamental British Values' in Schools: A Pilot Critical Analysis (£3,989)

  • Dr Christine Callender, Early Years and Primary Education, UCL Institute of Education
  • Dr Colm O'Cinneide, UCL Laws

The Stories of Our Place: Cultural heritage and local narratives in the primary classroom (£4,000)

  • Lynn Roberts, Early Years and Primary Education, UCL Institute of Education    
  • Dr Andrew Flinn, Department of Information Studies, Arts & Humanities

Panopticon Pandemonium: Engaging with Bentham through videogame (£4,000)

  • Professor Andrew Burn, Culture, Culture, Communication and Media, UCL Institute of Education
  • Dr Tim Causer, Transcribe Bentham, UCL Laws

Small Grants

UCL Faces Race: Past, Present, & Future (£4,000)

  • Dr Caroline Bressey, UCL Geography, Social & Historical Sciences 
  • Nathaniel Coleman, Department of Philosophy, Arts & Humanities

Learning Together: Collaborative workshops for refugee doctors and tomorrow’s doctors (£3,939)

  • Dr Ceri Butler, UCL Medical School
  • Dr Anita Berlin, Department of Primary Care and Population Health, Population Health Sciences

Freedom: An Ancient Idea for the Contemporary World (£4,000)

  • Dr Valentina Arena, Department of History, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Fiachra Mac Góráin, Department of Greek & Latin, Arts & Humanities

History, Literature and the First World War (£4,000)

  • Professor Jane Fenoulhet, School of European Languages, Culture and Society, Arts & Humanities
  • Professor Ben Kaplan, Department of History, Social & Historical Sciences 

A Common Foreign Policy? Analysing foreign policy of EU member states using speeches at UN General Assembly (£4,000)

  • Dr Slava Mikhaylov, UCL Political Science, Social & Historical Sciences
  • Dr Rob Smith, UCL Computer Science, Engineering Science

To find out more, visit the Case Studies page