NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Tawfik Hussein
    Texas A&M University, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering w/Concentration in Biomechanics and Minor in Astrophysics

    “GCSP gave me the opportunity to learn what it takes to become a leader in the field. Through my research in studying the impact of shear stress on the protein expression of the lymphatic endothelial cells, I was able to publish a thesis on ...

  • Swetha Swaminathan
    Arizona State University, 2016, B.E. Biomedical Engineering

    “Participating in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program has definitely been a worthwhile journey. It has given me so many opportunities that I would have otherwise not known where to find, and I definitely would not have been able to maximize ...

  • Jason Kim
    Duke University, 2016, B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering

    “The GCSP was my first intensive research experience studying neural engineering. My project focused on characterizing the response of neurons to clinical brain stimulation, for eventual applications to targeted stimulation therapies. Through ...

  • Max Jin
    Duke University, 2014, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “Under the guidance of Dr. Palmer and Dr. Dewhirst, I devised an apparatus to dynamically image in vivo the cancerous tissue environment using dorsal window chambers on mice without anesthesia. Throughout this project, I ...

  • Shaun Wootten
    Arizona State University, 2017, B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering and B.S Biochemistry w/Minor in Business

    Shaun Wootten is also the Interim Chief Technology Officer as well as the Project Management and Engineering Operations Adviser for Xtest, Inc.

    “GCSP elevated myself into the entrepreneurial climate where I got to contemplate some of the ...

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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