UCL Grand Challenges Summer School

The UCL Grand Challenges Summer School is underway, 16–20 June 2014. A full report on the programme will appear in the near future.


The UCL Grand Challenges Summer School seeks to provide an experience for research students at UCL that enables them to understand and discuss the UCL Grand Challenges philosophy and also develop practical skills in preparing research proposals that necessitate and combine expertise from different disciplines.

UCL Grand Challenges is part of the implementation of the UCL Research Strategy.

UCL Grand Challenges Philosophy

The underlying philosophy of UCL’s Grand Challenges (GC) is that solutions to complex and systemic problems emerge only when different kinds of expertise and methodologies are brought together: that our collective wisdom is greater than the sum of our expertise.

This entails breaking down the silos that compartmentalise knowledge and research into different disciplines.


Such work has variously been called inter-disciplinarity, multi-disciplinarity or trans-disciplinarity; at UCL we use the term ‘cross-disciplinarity’, i.e. collaboration between experts in different disciplines, transcending subject boundaries.

The work of the OVPR through the agenda set by the Grand Challenges – of Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing – and, increasingly, through wide-reaching Research Domains is seeking to embed this approach within UCL. The GC Research Student Summer School fits within the spirit of this UCL agenda.