NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Alumni
  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • Ninareh Mehrabi
    University of Southern California, 2018, B.S. in Computer Engineering and Computer Science

    “GCSP has helped me to think how I can leverage my engineering/science knowledge for the social good which played an important role in making decision for my PhD thesis proposal. My PhD study is going to be about fairness and biases in ...

  • Jonathan Sussman
    University of Southern California, 2019, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (Emphasis in Biochemistry) and B.M. in Flute Performance

    Jonathan Sussman is applying for MD/PhD programs which he hopes to begin in the fall of 2020. 

    “The Grand Challenges Scholars Program has inspired me to connect my studies and interest in engineering research with my aspiration for a ...

  • Rachel Hegab
    Louisiana Tech University, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “The multidisciplinary approach of GCSP has broaden my perspective on innovating medical solutions for improvement of patient’s lives. My participation in the GSCP motivated to go beyond my research in lab on tailorable hydrogels for ...


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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