NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Pavan Shah
    University of Southern California, 2018, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “GCSP provided me with the ideal framework to explore my interest of applying engineering principles to better healthcare. As an undergraduate, my research involved engineering new genetic constructs to better understand the pathways that ...

  • Amos Heng
    National University of Singapore, 2019, B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Innovation & Design

    “I was first inspired to enter the Medtech industry during my pre-college days as an army medic when I saw the difference medical devices made in saving lives. During my GCSP journey, I took the opportunity to embark on various Medtech ...

  • Becca Mercer
    Arizona State University, 2017, B.S.E. Industrial Engineering

    “The GCSP experiences that I participated in have been instrumental in my career. This program taught me the importance of independence and drive through finding, conducting, and presenting my own research. Through my research, I discovered a ...

  • Kevin Simon
    Olin College of Engineering, 2012, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    Kevin has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Olin College, and a MS in Engineering Systems from MIT. Currently, he is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student at MIT and a co-founder of Khethworks - an impact-oriented, for-profit startup that is ...

  • Nancy Ingabire Abayo
    Bucknell University, 2018, B.S. Civil Engineering and Geology

    “Being a grand challenge scholar has pushed me to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me to better the lives of my communities. It has been a constant reminder that although success is great and maybe satisfying, that it is never ...

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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