NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Alumni
  • Kerri Devine
    Duke University, 2013, B.S.E. Electrical & Computer Engineering and B.S. Computer Science w/Certificate in Energy & Environment

    “With buildings currently consuming over 40% of the world's energy and wasting over half of that energy, a truly energy secure future will require the digitization of our built environment.  As a Grand Challenges Scholar, I ...

  • Kevin Simon
    Olin College of Engineering, 2012, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    Kevin has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Olin College, and a MS in Engineering Systems from MIT. Currently, he is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at MIT and a co-founder of Khethworks - an impact-oriented, for-profit startup that is ...

  • Thong Ling Chiah
    Taylor's University, Malaysia, 2016, B.S.E. Electrical and Electronic Engineering

    “Taking part in the Grand Challenges Scholars Program allows me to take a step closer to the global issues and the 14 goals required to be delivered to make our world more sustainable, secure, healthy and joyful. We lived in a complex world ...

  • Shaun Wootten
    Arizona State University, 2017, B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering and B.S Biochemistry w/Minor in Business

    Shaun Wootten is also the Interim Chief Technology Officer as well as the Project Management and Engineering Operations Adviser for Xtest, Inc.

    “GCSP elevated myself into the entrepreneurial climate where I got to contemplate some of the ...

  • Heather Martin
    Arizona State University, 2015, B.S. Electrical Engineering

    “My time in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program was incredible. I entered the GCSP at Arizona State University under the leadership of Dr. Ramakrishna, and the way he conveyed the purpose of the program so passionately really inspired me to ...


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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