UCL Health of the Public


UCL Health of the Public Small Grants Scheme Projects

The UCL Health of the Public small grants scheme encourages cross-disciplinary research collaborations to find ways of improving the health of the public.

Since it's launch in 2020, The Scheme has supported 12 cross-disciplinary projects to deliver collaborative research that has the potential to transform the public health landscape and help us to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life in the population as a whole. See full list of projects below.

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. I’m delighted that so many early career researchers applied and were successful. These exciting projects will help us improve health at a population level. Many thanks to all the applicants, and warm congratulations to those who were successful in what was an exceptionally competitive field."

2021-22 Recipients





Kelly Dickson and Lyn Ang (Institute of Education)

East London Cardiovascular Disease Prevention (ELoPE) Health Promotion and Education Programme: Scoping Review and Stakeholder Consultation to support intervention development and collaborative partnerships

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention is a major public health priority that requires an interdisciplinary approach, merging educational components with health to achieve desirable outcomes. This project is to further develop an existing primary school-based Cardiovascular disease (CVD) programme by incorporating robust evidence from other school-based health promotion studies and educational theory, determining key factors and mechanisms of action to help refine a more potentially effective behaviour change intervention and inform future research priorities.


Phil Symonds (Bartlett School of Architecture) and Pia Hardelid (Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health)

houSing feaTures and Risk of Injury in chilDrEn (STRIDE)

Unintentional injuries (UI) in children constitute a major public health problem and can result in substantial long-term ill health, disability and even death. After cancer, childhood accidents are the second most common cause of death for 1-4 year olds in England and Wales. Injuries are preventable, and the vast majority of UI among children under 5 years old in high income countries take place in the home. The primary aim of this project will be to investigate the impact of dwelling and household characteristics on UI in children under 5 years old.

Webinar: Housing data & health impacts

Maria Kett (Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care) and Julius Mugwagwa (STEaPP)

Tackling a Syndemic: Diabetes and Lessons from COVID-19

This research will bring together academics and practitioners to better understand the mechanisms needed to tackle syndemic health issues, learning lessons from the impact of Covid-19 on communities. It will focus on the London borough of Brent, a diverse area which has one of the highest poverty rates in both London and UK, and one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the country. The project will explore the role of trust, accountability, agency (regarding public health approaches) in a post-Covid world.

Luiza Campos (UCL Dept of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering), Monica Lakhanpaul (UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health), Priti Parikh (UCL Engineering for International Development Centre), Kaushik Sarkar (Aceso Global Health Consultants) & Carol Vigurs (UCL Institute of Social Research). Research Assistants: Eniola Shittu & Marta Koch (UCL Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering)

Exploring the impacts of water contaminated by emerging pollutants on vulnerable children – the Impacts of Contaminated Water on Children (ICWC) project.



Water pollution is responsible for an estimated 1.8 million deaths per year. There is evidence that chemical substances, even in very low quantities, may cause chronic toxicity, endocrine disruption and the development of bacterial pathogen resistance. There are currently millions of children aged 0-5 in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) exposed to chemicals affecting their physical health, development and wellbeing in the long-term. 
The aim of this project is to map the existing evidence on the effects of water chemicals on children in LMICs in line with UN SDGs 3 (health issues), 6 (water and sanitation), 10 (inequalities), 11 (human settlements) and 17 (partnerships) through a scoping review and a co-design stakeholder workshop.

Follow the project on social media: 

Explore their Wakelet project timeline here.

Project hashtag: #ICWCProjectUCL

Richard Beckett (UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering) and Lena Ciric (Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng)

Assessing the viability of a novel probiotic building prototype to increase the diversity of environmental microbes in indoor environments

There is growing evidence which suggests that exposure to highly diverse microbial communities (e.g. those found in the natural environment) has a positive effect on the immune system, which has impacts on various aspects of health including fewer allergies, better immune response to infections and even improved mental health. This is a new collaborative project between the disciplines of architecture and environmental microbiology which aims to find novel ways to design healthy built environments and infrastructures.


Jessica Sheringham (Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care) and Marcella Ucci (Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering)

Optimising the use of administrative data on housing and health inequalities to reduce local health and care inequalities

This new collaboration between public health and built environment academics and two London boroughs aims to understand the levers for addressing health inequalities with respect to local housing police and strategy, by using administrative data. It seeks to advance the understanding of the environmental determinants of health at household level that local interventions can target. This work is particularly relevant to London, characterised by stark variations in health and housing within densely populated localities. As national reports indicate, findings should also have UK-wide relevance.


2020-21 Recipients: 


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.


Data Study Group Final Report: IEDE Acoustics Group, University College London 

AI-based soundscape analysis: Jointly identifying sound sources and predicting annoyance

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

DeLTA (Deep Learning Techniques for noise Annoyance detection) Dataset