NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Iris Yow
    Taylor's University, Malaysia, 2018, B.S.E. Chemical Engineering

    “GCSP gave me the golden opportunities to contribute to the sustainability of our future world. While improving my engineering skills, equal importance is given to me to upgrade my own values. As part of this program, I am not only ...

  • Connor Cotton
    Duke University, 2016, B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering

    “The Grand Challenge Scholars Program was an incredibly important part of my college experience. Through the interdisciplinary curriculum component of the program, I took classes that allowed me to critically examine not only the technical, ...

  • Jennifer Anderson
    Olin College of Engineering, 2016, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “GCSP was an amazing chance to not only compile many documents which would be helpful for later applications, but also to boost my confidence in my ability to succeed in my career goals. I didn't originally intend to attend Grad School, ...

  • Washma Anwar
    Saint Louis University, 2018, B.S. Physics and Computer Engineering

    “Being a Grand Challenge Scholar encouraged me to combine multiple areas of study that were of interest to me, Physics and Computer Science, in order to tackle a bigger problem. Using coding as a tool to solve a physics problem was great ...

  • Jared Dunnmon
    Duke University, 2011, B.S.E. Mechanical Engineering

    “The GCSP gave me the opportunity to learn firsthand how solving hard problems benefits a confluence of perspectives, ranging from the technology to policy to business.  As a result, I have spent time as a technologist, but continue to ...

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).

Sponsored by