NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Zeynep Ayla
    Arizona State University, 2017, B.S.E. Chemical Engineering

    “GCSP motivated me to seek undergraduate research and mentorship opportunities centered on the theme of sustainability, which led me to pursue a research career. Currently, I am working towards my PhD as a part of the Flaherty Group at the ...

  • Kendall K. Belcher
    Louisiana Tech University, 2013. B.S. Civil Engineering w/Minor in Business Administration

    “According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the overall infrastructure of our country is a “D.” This striking problem led me to select the GCSP challenge, “To restore and improve urban infrastructure.” ...

  • Stephanie Fong
    University of Southern California, 2015, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “I am an alumna of the University of Southern California (USC), where I earned a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Through the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, I augmented my engineering education with ...

  • John Aguillard
    Louisiana Tech University, 2019, B.S. Electrical Engineering

    John Aguillard is also pursuing a M.S. in Space Systems Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

    "Even early in my undergraduate career, the GCSP gave me the encouragement, network, and opportunities needed to make an impact. From my first ...

  • Luke Vest
    Saint Louis University, 2019, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering

    Luke Vest also had original research that was published in "Clinical Transplantation". This work assessed the outcomes of kidney transplant recipients who took various diabetes medications in the first year after transplant. Here is the ...

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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