NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Fernanda Gushken
    University of Southern California, 2017, B.S. Industrial and Systems Engineering w/Minor in Business Administration

    Fernanda Gushken went on to get a Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Minor in Business Administration and Master’s of Science in Engineering Education from the University of Southern California.

     “The NAE ...

  • Winston Lim
    Taylor’s University, Malaysia, 2019, B.S.E. Chemical Engineering

    “The GSCP program has trained me to work proactively. It has opened my eyes towards the significance of the impact brought by the 14 Grand Challenges. The GSCP program has also inspired me to be a better engineer to solve challenges with ...

  • Kerri Devine
    Duke University, 2013, B.S.E. Electrical & Computer Engineering and B.S. Computer Science w/Certificate in Energy & Environment

    “With buildings currently consuming over 40% of the world's energy and wasting over half of that energy, a truly energy secure future will require the digitization of our built environment.  As a Grand Challenges Scholar, I ...

  • Sam Pasmann
    University of Portland, 2019, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “My grand challenge was providing energy from nuclear fusion. I was the first student at the University of Portland to conduct research in the subject. GCSP gave me the infrastructure to expand my research in nuclear fusion and knowledge that ...

  • Muhammad Miqdad
    University of Rochester, 2019, B.S. Chemical Engineering

    “GCSP provided me with a framework to pursue my passions and explore new avenues. As part of the program, I interacted with people in over 12 countries to grow my clean water startup, and in doing so, found myself surrounded by global change ...

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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