NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Alumni
  • Brady Klein
    Duke University, 2014, B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering w/Certificate in Energy and Environment

    “The GCSP allowed me to tie diverse elements of the Duke engineering curriculum together into a cohesive mission and project. I found a ton of value in being able to apply learnings from the classroom to solve pressing issues in urban ...

  • Suraj Sehgal
    Georgia Institute of Technology, 2018, B.S. Industrial and Systems Engineering

    “GCSP helped to provide a network of like-minded changemakers. I had the opportunity to research food insecurity on college campuses, helping to write a white paper recommending policy changes to the Georgia Tech administration. Most ...

  • Eduardo Luciano Huapaya
    Arizona State University, 2019, B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering

    Luciano Huapaya will be joining the Peace Corps as a Community Health Facilitator in October 2019.

    “I am grateful for the growth and opportunity the Grand Challenge Scholars Program has given me throughout my time as an undergraduate. I had ...

  • Isa Ferrall
    Duke University, 2015, B.S. Mechanical Engineering w/Certificate in Energy and the Environment

    “During my undergraduate studies, I had a clear vision of wanting to use the problem solving techniques and skills based in engineering to address the diverse issues preventing solar energy from reaching its full potential, but there was not ...

  • Sarah Milkowski
    University of Southern California, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “Through the Grand Challenge Scholars program I have developed an entirely new way of looking at problems. As engineers it is so important to embrace the holistic approach the Grand Challenges method of analysis provides. Not only does it ...


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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