NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Chad Liu
    Duke University, 2013, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “With GCSP's support, I had the opportunity as an undergrad to mathematically model a tumor's response to radiation treatment, and this experience inspired me to pursue a path of quantitative cancer research. My Ph.D. thesis at ...

  • Bach Nguyen
    Lafayette College, 2017, B.S. Chemical Engineering

    "My GCSP project was to improve a novel biodegradable polymer, develop accompanying production processes and formulate a strategy to bring the product to market. The GCSP has allowed me to apply the engineering and research mindset towards ...

  • Yitaek Hwang
    Duke University, 2016, B.S. Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering

    “My GCSP project was “Lowering the Cost of Corrective Eyewear from Eye Exam to Buying Glasses.” I led a small startup that designed and built self-adjustable eyeglasses to address the 702 million people living with uncorrected ...

  • 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 ...

  • Guy Pickett
    Arizona State University, 2012, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “The Grand Challenge Scholars Program not only enlightened me to several key, imminent areas of research, but allowed me to participate in aiding the academic community in their resolution. This was very rewarding and motivating for me as an ...

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