UCL Grand Challenges


Highlighted Justice & Equality case studies

The following are just a few examples of the cross-disciplinary work that GCJE has supported and facilitated - highlighting the impact the work has had in the world.

For more details of the impacts of other work funded by this Grand Challenge, view all our Justice and Equality projects.

Routes to Opportunity

Funding from the Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality led to a report on access to vocational and technical education for the over- 25s in England.

The report, Routes to Opportunity: Addressing the non-university skills gap in England, was authored by Institute of Education Doctoral candidate Aly Colman.

The report details the skills gap in England: there is a critical shortage of people in skilled trades and insufficient opportunities through retraining and funding for people to be able to do these jobs. 

> Routes to opportunity: Addressing the non-university skills gap in England

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Structurally Unsound - Exploring UK Inequalities

In partnership with the Resolution Foundation and UCL Public Policy, GCJE conducted a year-long project exploring the structural and intersectional nature of inequalities in the UK, bringing together academics, business, the third sector, and policy stakeholders.

The collaboration culminated in a major report published in October 2019, entitled Structurally Unsound.

The report combines research and evidence on inequalities in the UK, with the aim of facilitating informed and joined-up policy-making as well as outlining key evidence gaps, and setting out five key approaches for equity.

Exploring Structural Inequalities

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Future of the Welfare State

The Right Hon Ed Miliband MP hosted a discussion on the future of the UK’s welfare state, with experts in global health, psychiatry and social science, asking whether the welfare state is fit for the challenges of the twenty-first century.

Professors Anthony Costello (UCL Global Health) and Helen Killaspy (UCL Psychiatry) were among the experts discussing the importance of facilitating social groups in communities and adopting innovative, radical approaches to tackle major policy challenges.

Videos from the event and further details

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Global Migration, Local Impact

A small grant allowed researchers to examine the impact of migration and attitudes towards migrants on the small Italian island of Lampedusa. As part of the project, Dr Michela Franceschelli, UCL Institute of Education produced a documentary, CCÀ SEMU - Here we are, lives on hold in Lampedusa.

The film was launched at a sold-out event at the Bloomsbury Theatre and won Best Documentary prize at the 2018 Taormina Film Festival and subsequently was screened at festivals around Europe.

The project was also awarded funding by ESRC Festival of Social Science to be included in an event on ‘Art and Migration in the Mediterranean Sea’ at the Horniman Museum in London.

> Global Migration, Local Impact - Lives on hold in Lampedusa

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Understanding 'Left-behind' Places

A small grant enabled a pilot project focused on the village of Sacriston in County Durham, 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. 

The project developed networks with local actors and considered how new solutions aimed at improving social and economic conditions can be co-produced with local communities using expertise at UCL and elsewhere.

Find out more and read the project's major report

Barriers to Justice

A small grant funded a report into accessing the judicial review courts in the UK. The project, co-produced by Dr Lisa Vanhala, Associate Professor in Political Science, Dr Tom Hickman, Reader in Public Law at UCL Laws, and the legal charity the Public Law Project, sought to examine questions of finance around the judicial review process, with a final report authored by Joe Tomlinson and Ravi Low-Beer and published by PLP.

The report called for a "thorough and even-handed inquiry concerning financial barriers to accessing judicial review". The report has necessarily had significant implications for policy.

> Barriers to justice? The cost of public law

UK Network on the Prohibition of Torture

Support from Grand Challenge Justice and Equality enabled the establishment of a network of practitioners, policymakers, and researchers with a professional and/or scholarly interest in actively contributing to torture prohibition.

The network offers cross-disciplinary insight on torture prohibition and draws on the complementary strengths of participants spanning diverse sectors, organisations and disciplines.

The project, led by UCL academics from the Faculty of Laws, the Global Governance Institute and the Institute of the Americas, published a comprehensive report, The Prohibition of Torture: Future Priorities for Research, Policy and Practice.

> Find out more on UK Network on the Prohibition of Torture