NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Matthew Ritter
    Olin College of Engineering, 2010, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “I had a strong interest in cleantech and entrepreneurship throughout my undergraduate career. In an extraordinary stroke of fortune Olin began graduating Grand Challenge Scholars in my senior year, so I and another entrepreneurial Oliner got ...

  • Luke Oaks
    Texas A&M University, 2019, B.S. Interdisciplinary Engineering

    “When I joined the Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP), I was a biomedical engineering student working on the development of an effective early-detection method of oral cancer diagnosis. While conducting this research - which recently led ...

  • Caroline Bell
    Louisiana Tech University, 2016, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “The GCSP has had a major impact on my career. It diversified my college experience and brought me key relationships that got me where I am today. I was consistently pushed to think outside the box and step out of my comfort zone. I conducted ...

  • Xiang Li
    City University of Hong Kong, 2019, B.S.E. Civil and Structural Engineering

    “The Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) introduced me to a broader engineering world related to interdisciplinary society containing finance, art, and politics consideration. For a global view of civil development, under GCSP, after the ...

  • Arushi Gulati
    University of Southern California, 2018, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “Being a part of GCSP helped me to understand how engineering approaches could be used to solve complex interdisciplinary problems and pushed me to develop a solid foundation in diverse fields such as business and global health. As an ...

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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