NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Alumni
  • Francesco Tresalti
    La Sapienza (University of Rome), 2019, B.S. Energy Engineering

    "The title of my GCSP project is PV powered pumping system proposal: Providing access to water - Rutenderi. It is a comparative analysis between two different methods (a subsurface and a well system) to bring water to a Rwandan village called ...

  • Cole Brauer
    Arizona State University, 2019, B.S.E. Engineering (Robotics)

    “Being a part of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program gave me the opportunity to explore classes and experiences beyond what would normally be included in my major.  My experiences in entrepreneurship and service learning helped me to ...

  • William Park
    Georgia Institute of Technology, 2018, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    "I have been interested in helping and supporting developing countries where even simple modern technology can significantly raise the quality of their lives. During my GCSP project in Costa Rica for two months, I noticed all the knowledge and ...

  • Alex Strasser
    Texas A&M University, 2020 (Class of 2019), B.S. Chemical Engineering w/Minors in Physics and Materials Science

    “The GCSP has truly set me up for success in exploring fundamental physics phenomena in nanomaterials during graduate studies. My Grand Challenge research project enabled me to present at multiple research conferences and publish multiple ...

  • Samuel Helman
    Louisiana Tech University, 2016, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “GCSP challenged me to tackle problems and work in areas outside of my academic "comfort zone." I had a great group of mentors and professors helping me along the way to complete my GCSP journey. I learned a lot through my ...


The NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering, created in 2008, presented an aspirational vision of what engineering needs to deliver to all people on the planet in the 21st century. In just 15 words, the vision it calls for is:

“Continuation of life on the planet,
making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful.”

The century-spanning vision was based on 14 GOALS that the NAE recognized as necessary to deliver this vision in the 21st century.

Numerous engineering schools and K-12 programs have adopted the NAE Grand Challenges to inspire practical projects for their students through an educational supplement called the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP), which identifies the following five competencies that students must achieve to prepare to address these global challenges:

  1. Talent Competency: mentored research/creative experience on a Grand Challenge-like topic
  2. Multidisciplinary Competency: understanding multidisciplinarity of engineering systems solutions developed through personal engagement
  3. Viable Business/Entrepreneurship Competency: understanding, preferably developed through experience, of the necessity of a viable business model for solution implementation
  4. Multicultural Competency: understanding different cultures, preferably through multicultural experiences, to ensure cultural acceptance of proposed engineering solutions
  5. Social Consciousness Competency: understanding that engineering solutions should primarily serve people and society reflecting social consciousness


Addressing any of the Grand Challenges for Engineering naturally spans multiple disciplines, and because solutions are implemented differently in different parts of the world, the program prepares students to think in international terms and to develop globally relevant perspectives and skills. 

The GCSP was inspired by the NAE but is not controlled by the academy. Each adopting university, college, and school is independently drawn to the program—often by its students—and defines its own supplemental approach to preparing students in the five competencies within its existing engineering program. Each institution selects its students, determines their attainment of the competencies, and decides how it will recognize their achievement.

For more information on the GCSP, please contact Sherri Hunter (SHUNTER@NAE.EDU) or GCSP Proposal Review Committee Chair Katie Evans (KEVANS@LATECH.EDU).

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