NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Sum Po Ava Chan
    City University of Hong Kong, 2018, B.S. Applied Biology

    “My scientific outlook was greatly inspired by the GCSP. It is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program that allows students to integrate research experience, global dimension, interdisciplinary curriculum, service learning and ...

  • Jared Dunnmon
    Duke University, 2011, B.S.E. Mechanical Engineering

    “The GCSP gave me the opportunity to learn firsthand how solving hard problems benefits a confluence of perspectives, ranging from the technology to policy to business.  As a result, I have spent time as a technologist, but continue to ...

  • Marisol Luna Aguero
    Arizona State University, 2017, B.S.C.E. Civil (Environmental) Engineering

    "Through the GSCP I learned that my passion is in providing access to clean water. Since the beginning of my college career and continuing onto my professional career, this is what I have dedicated my time and energy into. The GSCP has allowed ...

  • Evan Reilly
    Duke University, 2016, B.S.E. Civil & Architectural Engineering

    "My experiences with the Grand Challenge Scholars Program at Duke have helped me deepen my understanding of the gravity of the urban infrastructure challenges we face as a society and have heightened my resolve to develop solutions for a more ...

  • 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 ...

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 or GCSP Proposal Review Committee Chair Katie Evans (KEVANS@LATECH.EDU).

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