NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Nancy Ingabire Abayo
    Bucknell University, 2018, B.S. Civil Engineering and Geology

    “Being a grand challenge scholar has pushed me to take advantage of every opportunity presented to me to better the lives of my communities. It has been a constant reminder that although success is great and maybe satisfying, that it is never ...

  • Eduardo Luciano Huapaya
    Arizona State University, 2019, B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering

    Luciano Huapaya will be joining the Peace Corps as a Community Health Facilitator in October 2019.

    “I am grateful for the growth and opportunity the Grand Challenge Scholars Program has given me throughout my time as an undergraduate. I had ...

  • 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 ...

  • Emma Luke
    University of Rochester, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    "Being involved with the GCSP was a great way for me to connect many of my undergraduate experiences -- from conducting research on nanomembranes to volunteering in Honduras -- in ways I had not originally imagined. I am grateful to have ...

  • Becca Mercer
    Arizona State University, 2017, B.S.E. Industrial Engineering

    “The GCSP experiences that I participated in have been instrumental in my career. This program taught me the importance of independence and drive through finding, conducting, and presenting my own research. Through my research, I discovered a ...

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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