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About the Grand Challenge Scholars Program

From providing access to clean water to securing the realm of cyberspace, the challenges facing our modern societies are immediate and complex.

In recognition of the essential role of engineers in addressing such issues, the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) has identified “14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century,” and called for a paradigm shift in the way in which engineers approach their work. Continuing to meet our obligation to improve sustainability, health care, resilience, and the joy of living in all regions of the world will require a diversion from the traditionally invention-focused field of engineering. While technical training will certainly still be imperative, the future will also require engineers who can shape public policy, move innovation to the market place, and draw from and contribute to social science and the humanities.

solarAdvance Personalized Learning

solarMake Solar Energy Economical

solarEnhance Virtual Reality

solarEngineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery

solarReverse-Engineer the Brain

solarEngineer Better Medicines

solarAdvance Health Informatics

solarDevelop Carbon Sequestration Methods

solarRestore and Improve Urban Infrastructure

solarSecure Cyberspace

solarProvide Access to Clean Water

solarPrevent Nuclear Terror

solarProvide Energy from Fusion

solarManage the Nitrogen Cycle

In order to create this next wave of problem-solvers, the NAE looked to the training grounds of engineers, the birthplace of countless innovations and world-changing ideas, the heart of learning and discovery – colleges and universities. Thus, the NAE Grand Challenge Scholars Program was created. This educational and extracurricular program is designed to prepare the next generation of engineers to address this century’s most pressing challenges and opportunities, through the fulfillment of five main emphasis areas. Each participating institution develops their own unique program, with the common thread of facilitating top engineering and science students in their desire to change the world.