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With input from people around the world -- much of it on this website -- an international group of leading technological thinkers were asked to identify the Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.  Their conclusions created this website.

From urban centers to remote corners of Earth, the depths of the oceans to space, humanity has always sought to transcend barriers, overcome challenges, and create opportunities that improve life in our part of the universe. In the last century alone, many great engineering achievements became so commonplace that we now take them mostly for granted.  Technology allows an abundant supply of food and safe drinking water for much of the world.  We rely on electricity for many of our daily activities.  We can travel the globe with relative ease, and bring goods and services wherever they are needed.  Growing computer and communications technologies are opening up vast stores of knowledge and entertainment. As remarkable as these engineering achievements are, certainly just as many more great challenges and opportunities remain to be realized.  While some seem clear, many others are indistinct and many more surely lie beyond most of our imaginations. Today, we begin engineering a path to the future.  

Get a PDF of the Grand Challenges booklet here.


Grand Challenges-Related Activities

 

Watch Recorded Video of the Summit

 

Dean Yannis C. Yortsos speaks about the NAE Grand Challenges

The 2nd Annual USA Science & Engineering Festival bases thematic festival tracks on the Grand Challenges.

The Kavli Foundation's Save the World Through Science & Engineering Video Contest features the Grand Challenges. Watch student entries and vote for the winner by clicking on the entry name and view each video on YouTube, then "like" your favorite!

National Instruments adopts the Grand Challenges as the framework for corporate citizenship.

Grand Challenges Scholars Program
The Grand Challenges Scholars Program is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program designed to prepare students to solve the Grand Challenges facing society. Learn how the program prepares the next generation of engineers and apply for this program at the Grand Challenges Scholars Program website.  In 2010 the White House blogged about the Grand Challenges and the Scholars Program.

Grand Challenges K-12 Partners Program
Learn how to become a partner in this program, which seeks create an awareness of and involvement in the NAE Grand Challenges for the K12 community in order to (1) strengthen the STEM pipeline; (2) develop technical literacy and motivation needed to be successful as a society in solving Grand Challenges; (3) educate the populace on the engineering mindset and the role of engineering in addressing Grand Challenges and improving the quality of life.

The Summit Series on the Grand Challenges
This series represents a commitment to sustain critical dialogue and engagement with grand challenge problems and to change the way we educate our students in order to better prepare them for the challenges ahead.  The goal of the summits is to:

1.  Enhance student interest in engineering and science.
2.  Increase the visibility and importance of engineering and science to society.
3.  Underscore the importance of recognizing that engineering education must be coupled to policy/business/law and must be student-focused.
4,  Enhance student interest in engineering, science, and technology entrepreneurship.
5.  Foment future collaborations of interested scientists, engineers, policy makers and researchers in business, law, social sciences and humanities needed to successfully address these complex societal issues.

 



Select Articles on the Grand Challenges

 

NAE op-ed on Grand Challenges in North Carolina school  

USA Today reports on the NAE's Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Lafayette students create self-designed majors that take on the Grand Challenges

"University of Tennessee Students Complete Program with Skills to Tackle World’s Grand Challenges"

Louisiana Tech issues a press release on its 2012 Grand Challenge Scholars

The Grand Challenges serve as the frame and inspiration for the curriculum at a North Carolina High School

PE Magazine summarizes the impacts of the Grand Challenges for Engineering project

Business Week reported on the first Grand Challenges for Engineering Summit at Duke University in 2009.

[VIDEO] MSNBC
segment on the Grand Challenges

NAE press release announcing the Grand Challenges

 


  • One of these grand challenges:
Institute Professor

Robert S. Langer, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), conducts research at the interface between biotechnology and materials science, with a major focus on the development of polymers ...

Robert Langer

The NAE Committee on Engineering's Grand Challenges has identified 14 areas  awaiting engineering solutions in the 21st century.

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