NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Alumni
  • C. Ryan Land
    Louisiana Tech University, 2013, B.S. Electrical Engineering

    “I joined the GCSP at Louisiana Tech University, and it encouraged me to give back to my colleagues through peer tutoring, to explore entrepreneurship in the Top Dawg Idea Pitch, and to look beyond the textbooks, understanding the impact that ...

  • Sarah Donaher
    Clemson University, 2017, B.S. Environmental Engineering

    “The GCSP served as the catalyst for my introduction to academic research. I was attracted to the program because it aims to tailor engineering curriculum around global issues rather than isolated disciplines. In exploring my Challenge of ...

  • Rachel Teater
    Ohio State University, 2018, B.S. Biomedical Engineering w/Minor in Humanitarian Engineering

    Being in the GCSP encouraged me to pursue a well-rounded, global education. I found opportunities to perform research and travel to India and Ghana and also took a fantastic class in entrepreneurship that I never would have without GCSP. My long ...

  • Willa Zhao
    University of Southern California, 2017, B.S. Computer Science/Business Administration

    “GCSP has helped guide the way I think about interdisciplinary studies. With a Computer Science background and interest in investments, I see a huge growth opportunity within money management. As the focus on investments increases combined ...

  • Matthew Ritter
    Olin College of Engineering, 2010, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “I had a strong interest in cleantech and entrepreneurship throughout my undergraduate career. In an extraordinary stroke of fortune Olin began graduating Grand Challenge Scholars in my senior year, so I and another entrepreneurial Oliner got ...


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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