UCL Grand Challenges


The UCL Grand Challenges


UCL Grand Challenges are cross-disciplinary research-related initiatives at UCL, London’s Global University, intended to benefit the world.

Since the programme was established in 2009, the Grand Challenges approach has brought together expertise from across the entire University along with external partners, to address some of the most pressing problems facing our planet. In the expanded Grand Challenges programme, we are responding directly to a key existential question for the world, posed by the Campaign for UCL: "How do we get society safely to the end of the 21st Century?"

The UCL Grand Challenges have supported UCL researchers to begin new and intense collaborations across a whole range of disciplines at the university. At the same time, the programme’s ultimate purpose is to see knowledge generated by research and scholarship at UCL achieve real-world influence. This is an ongoing process and may include scholarly outputs, public engagement, commercial activity, influence on public policy and more. You can find out more about each Grand Challenge's real world impact on its website.

Global Health

Global Health

The UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health brings together the university’s wealth of intellectual capital from across all disciplines, to find innovative, workable solutions to global health problems. Explore our work on Global Health

Sustainable Cities

African rooftops

The UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities examines one of the most urgent issues facing the world today: increasing and relentless urbanisation. Explore our work on Sustainable Cities

Cultural Understanding


The UCL Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding looks at the differing, complex and evolving relationships between people, communities and culture. We foster research into the role of religion, politics, heritage and technology will shape how well humans adapt to the future. Explore our work on Cultural Understanding

Human Wellbeing

Human Wellbeing

The UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing looks beyond traditional definitions of health and examines the wide range of disciplines that contribute to our sense of wellbeing. Our research helps to address complex issues such as ageing, behaviour change and social interaction. Explore our work on Human Wellbeing

Transformative Technology

Transformative Technology

The UCL Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology looks at how innovation and technology can have far-reaching benefits for society and the planet. Explore our work on Transformative Technology

Justice & Equality

Justice and Equality

The UCL Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality focuses our world-leading legal knowledge and research on the barriers that people face to just solutions and equality of opportunity. Explore our work on Justice & Equality