UCL Health of the Public


Recipients of UCL Health of the Public Small Grants Scheme announced

1 January 2021

In September 2020, UCL Health of the Public launched a small grants scheme to encourage new cross-disciplinary research collaborations aiming to conduct research to improve the health of the public.


The UCL Health of the Public Small Grants Scheme is supporting collaborations addressing challenges in the areas of domestic abuse, academic pressure and adolescent depression, COVID-19, multiple minority identities and mental health, environmental noise, and urban gardening.

In September 2020, UCL Health of the Public, with support from the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), and the UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences, launched a small grants scheme to encourage new cross-disciplinary research collaborations aiming to conduct research to improve the health of the public. 

Six cross-disciplinary projects are receiving funding over the next six months to deliver collaborative work that has the potential to transform the public health research landscape and can help us to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole.

Professor Graham Hart, UCL Health of the Public co-Director said: "UCL Health of the Public is bringing together researchers from across the university from a wide range of disciplines.This gives us at UCL a broader perspective and helps to promote health as well as ameliorate the many health challenges we face. This is an exciting set of newly funded projects – many congratulations to all the successful applicants in what was an exceptionally competitive field."



Alison McKinlay (Faculty of Population Health Sciences) and Jessica Ringrose (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society)

Online Arts Therapy for Women and Girls who have Experienced Domestic Abuse

In the UK, one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, while 8.5 million people in England and Wales have experienced abuse before the age of 16. Deprivation and lack of local support have prevented women and girls’ access to services previously, and these barriers have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The aims of this project are to target these barriers by adapting a community-based arts intervention for women affected by domestic abuse.


Gemma Lewis (Faculty of Brain Sciences) and  Alice Sullivan (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society)

Investigating academic pressure as a risk factor for adolescent depression, to inform the development of whole-school interventions.

This project aims to conduct the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between academic pressure and adolescent depression. The review will draw global attention to this under-researched topic, quantify the state of the evidence, and act as a catalyst to initiate a programme of priority research.


Sarah Edwards (Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences) and Catherine Houlihan (Faculty of Medical Sciences)

Public health risk and anthroponotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2

This project aims to investigate the risk of anthroponosis amongst domestic or companion animals known to have been in close physical contact with confirmed human cases. In so doing, it will bring together existing yet currently separate research groups across UCL and UCLH to tackle what has been a largely neglected area in the public health response to COVID-19, add value to existing work, and foster new broader inter-disciplinary collaborations.


Amal Khanolkar (Faculty of Population Health Sciences)  and Victoria Redclift (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society)

Multiple Minority Identities & Mental Health - A mixed-methods approach to addressing health inequalities

This interdisciplinary project brings together researchers from political sociology, social psychology, epidemiology and public health, and health inequalities to investigate whether ethnic- and sexual minority young people are at increased risk of poor mental health and wellbeing using a mixed-methods approach (with distinct quantitative and qualitative components). It also addresses health and equity issues outlined in the 2018 Government LGBT Action Plan.

Lived experiences and their consequences for health in sexual and ethnic minority young adults in the UK – A qualitative study

Niamh Murtagh (Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management) and Rachael Frost (Faculty of Population Health Sciences)

Green Fronts – Gardening for Public HealthUrban gardening offers significant benefits to mental and physical health. This study is the first step towards the team’s vision of a nationally scalable programme to get householders planting in their front gardens, with a set of behaviour change toolkits for community groups. The dual objectives are improved health through engagement in gardening, and a healthier urban built environment through more soft landscape coverage in front gardens.  

Francesco Aletta (Faculty of the Built Environment) and Jinghao Xue (Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences)

Deep Learning Techniques for Noise Annoyance Detection (DeLTA)

Environmental  noise is  a  major  public  health  issue  that  can  lead  to negative cardiovascular and metabolic effects, reduced cognitive performance in children, as well as severe annoyance and sleep disturbance. The aim of this project is to pilot a low-cost DNN-based method to be implemented in smart cities to detect the onset of noise annoyance issues in communities and neighbourhoods so that mitigation actions can be taken and escalation towards more critical public health situations can be contained.

Effects of Soundscape Complexity on Urban Noise Annoyance Ratings: A Large-Scale Online Listening Experiment

DeLTA (Deep Learning Techniques for noise Annoyance detection) Dataset