NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Willa Zhao
    University of Southern California, 2017, B.S. Computer Science/Business Administration

    “GCSP has helped guide the way I think about interdisciplinary studies. With a Computer Science background and interest in investments, I see a huge growth opportunity within money management. As the focus on investments increases combined ...

  • Andrianna Ayiotis
    University of Southern California, 2017, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    "I knew as soon as I heard about the Grand Challenges Scholars Program as a college freshman that I wanted to be a scholar and I planned accordingly. Working on my application inspired me to pursue a broad range of opportunities and to push my ...

  • Chee Jit Lim
    Taylor's University, Malaysia, 2018, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “GCSP has encouraged me to explore what is beyond the classroom. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in this program as it pushed me to explore and learn knowledge of different disciplines. Going abroad also showed me the perspective and ...

  • Mingkun Chen
    University of Southern California, 2018, B.S. Electrical Engineering w/Minor in Chemistry

    “Engineering has always held a significant role in my life. From my first engineering project proposal to the Beijing government of setting up bus lanes to improve traffic when I was in middle school, to my undergraduate research experience ...

  • 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 ...

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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