NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

  • Edgar De Leon
    University of Southern California, 2016, B.S. Industrial and Systems Engineering

    “The NAE Grand Challenges Scholar program provided me with a framework to explore some of the toughest problems facing humanity. I participated in research aimed at understanding the unintended and undesired consequences of health information ...

  • Akhila Murella
    Arizona State University, 2018, B.S. Computer Science w/Minors in Mathematics and Digital Culture

    “GCSP helped highlight the importance of having an interdisciplinary education and provided me with many opportunities to pursue research. My initial focus was health, and through GCSP, I was able to do research to improve a machine learning ...

  • Cole Brauer
    Arizona State University, 2019, B.S.E. Engineering (Robotics)

    “Being a part of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program gave me the opportunity to explore classes and experiences beyond what would normally be included in my major.  My experiences in entrepreneurship and service learning helped me to ...

  • 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 ...

  • Ethan Marschall
    Arizona State University, 2018, B.S. Biomedical Engineering

    “I took a multi-faceted approach to improving medicine: I researched nerve stimulation for preventing stroke-induced motor impairments, crafted multiple patents for use with photoacoustic microscopy techniques, and served my engineering ...

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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