NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Brady Klein
    Duke University, 2014, B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering w/Certificate in Energy and Environment

    “The GCSP allowed me to tie diverse elements of the Duke engineering curriculum together into a cohesive mission and project. I found a ton of value in being able to apply learnings from the classroom to solve pressing issues in urban ...

  • Neel Bhoopalam
    University of Southern California, 2017, B.S. Computer Science

    “During college, the GCSP Program further motivated me to pursue a multidisciplinary education in which I combined my interests in computer science, international relations, and social entrepreneurship. Upon graduating, I felt confident in ...

  • Gregory D. Poore
    Duke University, 2016, B.S. Biomedical/Medical Engineering

    “Four years ago, I lost my grandmother to a disease that had no explanation or treatment; its progression was unstoppable. Pancreatic cancer made a stifling entrance into our family and left as quickly as it came: less than 2 months from ...

  • Zoe Schwartz
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2019, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    “GCSP gave me a platform to reflect on my work throughout my time at WPI. I was able see recurring themes within my projects and experiences. STEM outreach, especially geared towards girls in engineering, had been at the forefront of my ...

  • Pavan Shah
    University of Southern California, 2018, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “GCSP provided me with the ideal framework to explore my interest of applying engineering principles to better healthcare. As an undergraduate, my research involved engineering new genetic constructs to better understand the pathways that ...

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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