NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Yao Tong
    National University of Singapore, 2018, B.S.E. Mechanical Engineering

    “My project worked on the Last Mile Problem with a primary focus in Singapore. GCSP encourages me to have global awareness and observe how the last mile may be solved with very different product or services across countries. Thus besides ...

  • Suveena Thanawala
    University of Southern California, 2019, B.S. Computer Engineering & Computer Science

    “Through being a part of the GCSP, I gained exposure to human-computer interaction research, and how it can be applied to personalizing learning. The program helped me find a challenge that intrigued me, and I gained technical skills and ...

  • Emma Palmer
    Duke University, 2019, B.S. Environmental Engineering w/Minor in Chemistry and Certificate in Global Development Engineering

    “GCSP was an essential part of my college career as it helped me focus my experiences around a core theme - providing access to clean water. GCSP motivated me and gave me the resources to take part in international humanitarian work and ...

  • Bruce Lim
    National University of Singapore, 2019, B.S.E. Materials Science and Engineering

    “Being in GCSP helped me to realize the importance of focusing on the need in the market before developing a solution, as reverse-engineering a need from a technology already developed is often counter-intuitive and does not actually fulfill ...

  • Kerry Muenchow
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2019, B.S. Chemical Engineering

    “Participating in the GCSP allowed me to reflect on my projects throughout my college experience and realize how they came together under the Providing Sustainable Access to Clean Water. Sharing my projects and experiences within this ...

For current information on the GCSP, please contact or GCSP Proposal Review Committee Chair Katie Evans (KEVANS@LATECH.EDU).


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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