NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Eman Alhajji
    North Carolina State University, 2018, B.S. Materials Science and Engineering

    “As a multi-passionate learner, GCSP enabled me to invest in what truly matters. I developed a deep passion for finding solutions to the challenge of making sustainable energy economical.  Over the past 20 years, the technology of ...

  • Amos Heng
    National University of Singapore, 2019, B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Innovation & Design

    “I was first inspired to enter the Medtech industry during my pre-college days as an army medic when I saw the difference medical devices made in saving lives. During my GCSP journey, I took the opportunity to embark on various Medtech ...

  • Edgar De Leon
    University of Southern California, 2016, B.S. Industrial and Systems Engineering

    “The NAE Grand Challenges Scholar program provided me with a framework to explore some of the toughest problems facing humanity. I participated in research aimed at understanding the unintended and undesired consequences of health information ...

  • Sarah Donaher
    Clemson University, 2017, B.S. Environmental Engineering

    “The GCSP served as the catalyst for my introduction to academic research. I was attracted to the program because it aims to tailor engineering curriculum around global issues rather than isolated disciplines. In exploring my Challenge of ...

  • Nicole Naselaris
    University of Rochester, 2019, B.S. Optical Engineering

    Nicole Naselaris just finished working as a research assistant at the University of Rochester in the laboratory of Professor Wayne H. Knox, conducting research in the fields of biomedical optics and optics education. In September, she will begin a ...

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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