NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Julianne Jorgensen
    Olin College of Engineering, 2015, B.S. Engineering w/Emphasis in Bioengineering

    “For my GCSP portfolio, I studied the ways in which my bioengineering degree was truly "Engineering for People". In this program, I was able to reflect on my values and ensure that the projects I chose in my classes meaningfully ...

  • Ryland Mortlock
    University of Southern California, 2019, B.S. Chemical Engineering w/Emphasis in Biochemical Engineering

    “I am passionate about the NAE Grand Challenge of engineering better medicines. While at USC, I constructed a computational model which can inform the design of new therapies for diabetes. Through an internship last summer with the National ...

  • Rahul Dhakal
    Bucknell University, 2016, B.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering

    “As a young engineering student, Grand Challenges Scholar Program (GCSP) was pivotal in my development as a critical thinker and in extending my knowledge to broader topics of water resources engineering beyond just the academic electives. ...

  • Rachel Hegab
    Louisiana Tech University, 2019, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “The multidisciplinary approach of GCSP has broaden my perspective on innovating medical solutions for improvement of patient’s lives. My participation in the GSCP motivated to go beyond my research in lab on tailorable hydrogels for ...

  • Aakash Bajpai
    University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2018, B.S. Mechanical Engineering w/Minor in Entrepreneurship

    “GCSP encouraged me to seek opportunities outside my scope of interest and in turn, diversify my skill set. I was surrounded by diverse minds from philosophy majors, to global studies majors, to engineering majors and this expanded my ...

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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