The National Academy of Engineering's (NAE's) list of 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century is a call to action and a means of focusing society's attention on opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life.
The NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program with five components that are designed to prepare students to solve these grand challenges facing society. These are challenges to “change the world.”
Energy and Environment
Advance health informatics
Engineer better medicines
Prevent nuclear terror
Restore urban infrastructure
Learning and Computation
Reverse engineer the brain
Enhance virtual reality
Advance personalized learning
Engineer the tools of scientific discovery
Nearly all 14 challenges address complex social issues that require innovative technology and a systems approach to solving them, but they cannot be solved in a vacuum. They also will require engineers to shape public policy, transfer technical innovation to the market place and to inform and be informed by social science and the humanities.
These are ambitious tasks that will require a new generation of engineers that will collectively:
Preparing the next generation of engineers
Each Grand Challenge (GC) Scholar must select a GC Mentor who will help guide him/her through the entire GC Scholars Program.
In addition, a GC Capstone experience must be completed, as well as the following five GC Components — commonly referred to as a GC Portfolio:
Each GC Scholar must prepare to help solve the engineering grand challenges that this nation and world faces, and each GC Scholar MUST complete a GC Capstone and any of the following research experiences.
Each GC Scholar must prepare to work at the overlap with public policy, business, law, ethics, human behavior and risk, as well as medicine and the sciences. For example:
Each GC Scholar must prepare to translate invention and innovation that can develop into market ventures and possibly global solutions in the public interest. For example:
Each GC Scholar must develop the perspective necessary to address challenges that are inherently global as well as to lead innovation in a global economy. For example:
Each GC Scholar must develop and deepen a social awareness and heighten motivation to bring his/her technical expertise to bear on societal problems. For example: