UCL Grand Challenges Showcase 2018

Palgrave Social Sciences books team attend UCL’s Grand Challenges Showcase 2018 to discover the university’s focus on joined-up solutions related to matters of pressing societal concern

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In April 2018 a few members of the Palgrave Social Sciences books team visited UCL here in London to attend the “Grand Challenges Showcase 2018.” As a key part of the university’s research strategy, UCL Grand Challenges aims to bring researchers from a range of disciplines together to explore “joined-up solutions in six areas related to matters of pressing societal concern.” These include Global Health, Cultural Understanding, Sustainable Cities, Human Wellbeing, Justice and Equality and Transformative Technology.

We were excited to see some of the innovative and interdisciplinary work in this area that is so complementary to our own editorial Grand Challenges focus. The event featured presentations, posters and discussions from researchers across the hard sciences, humanities and the social sciences, who are participating in this initiative.

One of the projects showcased was presented by co-editor of Palgrave book Intellectual Disability and Stigma, Katrina Scior, who is investigating intellectual disability and stigma around the world and developing interventions aimed at tackling negative stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination for these people and their families.

Another stand of research funded by the university, presented by Clemence Cavoli, looked into the social, economic and environmental impacts of car travel in developing countries in the global south. This work takes an interdisciplinary approach and aims to transform governance processes into policy and practice.

Other impactful projects presented included a look into the psycho-social factors in the use of food banks in the UK; an analysis of the non-university skills gap in England; a new non-verbal means to measure wellbeing, which will be of particular benefit to those who have had a stroke; and an amazing new technology which uses haptic feedback - similar to the technology in modern smartphones - for 3D printed body-powered prosthetic hands.
It was great to see the university’s focus on interdisciplinary approaches to our societies’ grand challenges, and to hear about some of the most recent innovative projects coming out of this approach. We’ll also hope for some interesting book projects stemming from the research for the future!

By Grace Jackson, Palgrave Macmillan

Image credits: @UCL_GCSC Twitter account

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