UCL is full of researchers chipping away at some huge problems. From climate change to the mathematics of riots, water use to better healthcare, there’s a lot going on. A lot of this research is paid for with public money through Research Councils, but it’s pretty rare that anyone else gets to decide what happens at universities.
Focus on the Positive changes that. At each event, UCL researchers have five minutes to tell an audience about a problem with the world and how they want to solve it. They listen to the pitch, talk to the researchers face-to-face, and then vote for one person to win £2000 to take their project forward. Anyone can be in the audience, and anyone can have their input into which project wins the funding. In the past we’ve run events in a local theatre, a city centre pub and for a group of University of the Third Age members.
If you never thought university funding could be exciting, think again.
UCL’s Public Engagement Unit has a history of novel ideas, including Bright Club, a comedy night that trains academics to be researchers. Following this tradition of innovation, we created Focus on the Positive to challenge our researchers to think about applications of their work. Since the first event in 2012, projects funded by Focus on the Positive have ranged from sending medical equipment and expertise to West Africa to using school gardens to teach kids about energy saving.
You can find out more by watching this video:
This blog is the place to find out what’s been happening with projects that won, what former participants have gone on to do, and a bit of behind-the-scenes info on what’s coming up in our next events.
What will 2014 bring? Join us and you can decide!