NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Kanika Gakhar
    Texas A&M University, 2018, B.S. in Aerospace Engineering

    “The GCSP program helped me take an all-rounded approach during my undergraduate career by giving me a platform to network with students and mentors across campus and connecting me with opportunities to engage in research, entrepreneurship, ...

  • Swetha Swaminathan
    Arizona State University, 2016, B.E. Biomedical Engineering

    “Participating in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program has definitely been a worthwhile journey. It has given me so many opportunities that I would have otherwise not known where to find, and I definitely would not have been able to maximize ...

  • Ella Wassweiler
    University of Iowa, 2015, B.S.E. Electrical and Computer Engineering

    “​The importance placed on holistic engineering drew me to the Grand Challenges Program. Throughout the program I was expected to not only conduct research but also explore how my research tied into multiples cultures, entrepreneurship, civic ...

  • Emily Campbell
    Australian National University, 2018, B.S.E. Mechanical and Materials & B.A. Spanish

    “As part of the GCSP, I worked in a variety of places, including Australia, Peru and the United States, and in a variety of disciplines, from materials engineering to digital transformation. The sheer diversity of these experiences opened my ...

  • Martin Pozniak
    University of North Dakota, 2019, B.S. Electrical Engineering & B.S. Cybersecurity

    “GCSP was an integral part in my personal and professional development. The program gave me the opportunity to travel globally to India, to complete research projects in cutting edge challenges that many of us as engineers are working 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).

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