NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Eduardo Luciano Huapaya
    Arizona State University, 2019, B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering

    Luciano Huapaya will be joining the Peace Corps as a Community Health Facilitator in October 2019.

    “I am grateful for the growth and opportunity the Grand Challenge Scholars Program has given me throughout my time as an undergraduate. I had ...

  • Shomik Verma
    Duke University, 2019, B.S.E. Mechanical Engineering

    “My GCSP focus was making solar energy economical. My experiences through GCSP showed me real-world impacts of technologies we develop in the lab. I received funding from GCSP to travel to California to install free solar panels for ...

  • Evan Williams
    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2019, B.S. Environmental Resources Engineering

    “The Grand Challenge Scholars Program has helped me to synthesize my many unique college experiences and endeavors into a cohesive vision for the future of engineering. It offered me the opportunity to build on my sustainability-focused ...

  • Sebastian Dziallas
    Olin College of Engineering, 2014, B.S. Engineering w/Concentration in Computing

    “The Grand Challenges Scholars Program at Olin College provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my learning experiences, including on my journey from volunteering in open source software communities to working on the Grand Challenges ...

  • 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 ...

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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