NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Cole Brauer
    Arizona State University, 2019, B.S.E. Engineering (Robotics)

    “Being a part of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program gave me the opportunity to explore classes and experiences beyond what would normally be included in my major.  My experiences in entrepreneurship and service learning helped me to ...

  • 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 ...

  • Rebecca Thoss
    University of Southern California, 2018, B.S. Chemical Engineering w/Emphasis in Nanotechnology and Minor in Economics

    “Part of what attracted me to USC's Viterbi School of Engineering was the emphasis on Engineering+, which is the idea of being more than just an engineer, but a multi-faceted student. Viterbi encouraged me to pursue my interests in ...

  • Tawfik Hussein
    Texas A&M University, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering w/Concentration in Biomechanics and Minor in Astrophysics

    “GCSP gave me the opportunity to learn what it takes to become a leader in the field. Through my research in studying the impact of shear stress on the protein expression of the lymphatic endothelial cells, I was able to publish a thesis on ...

  • Kushal Seetharam
    Duke University, 2014, B.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering

    “During the GCSP, I worked on a collaborative project with the Village Development Council of Farende, Togo to create a novel system that would sanitize human excreta and convert the byproducts into electricity, organic fertilizer, and food ...

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).

Sponsored by