About GCSP


More than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. 14 Grand Challenges (GC) are identified through initiates including the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The GCs are a call to action and serve as a focal point for society's attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life.

The GCSP is a combined curricular and extra-curricular elements to prepare students to be the future engineers and scientists that solves the 14 GCs facing the world in this century. The elements will be embedded into the curriculum so as to maximize the learning experience of students, through participation in research projects, Entrepreneurship schemes, interdisciplinary courses, service learning activities and overseas exchange program. The program was endorsed by the NAE in February 2009. For further information about GCSP (NAE), please visit the website below:

NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Grand Challenges for Engineering (Video)


GCSP aims to prepare students to be the generation that solves the 14 GCs by embedding five curricular components into the program. It serves to pilot innovative educational approaches that will eventually become the mainstream educational paradigm for all engineering students

Five Curricular Components

  1. Hands-on Project or Research Experience: Related to a Grand Challenge
  2. Interdisciplinary Curriculum: A curriculum that complements engineering fundamentals with courses in other fields, preparing engineering students to work at the overlap with public policy, business, law, ethics, human behavior, risk, and the arts, as well as medicine and the sciences
  3. Entrepreneurship: Preparing students to translate invention to innovation; to develop market ventures that scale to global solutions in the public interest
  4. Global Dimension: Developing the students’ global perspective necessary to address challenges that are inherently global as well as to lead innovation in a global economy
  5. Service Learning: Developing and deepening students’ social consciousness and their motivation to bring their technical expertise to bear on societal problems through mentored experiential learning with real clients

* A well-connected program would be one where a single component can be linked to one or more of the other components; e.g., interning at an organization (Entrepreneurship) and/or performing research (Research experience) on global health or clean energy (Grand Challenge(s) / Service Learning).

* Each GC scholar should select or be assigned a faculty mentor to monitor student progress and ensure thematic continuity and connectivity.

14 Grand Challenges

Sustainability Grand Challenge Theme:
    (1) Make Solar Energy Economical
    (2) Provide Energy from Fusion
    (3) Develop Carbon Sequestration Methods 
    (4) Manage the Nitrogen Cycle
    (5) Provide Access to Clean Water

Health Grand Challenge Theme:
    (6) Advance Health Informatics
    (7) Engineer Better Medicines

Security Grand Challenge Theme:
    (8) Prevent Nuclear Terror
    (9) Secure Cyberspace
    (10) Restore and improve Urban Infrastructure

  Joy of Living Grand Challenge Theme:
   (11) Reverse Engineer the Brain
    (12) Enhance Virtual Reality
    (13) Advance Personalized Learning
    (14) Engineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery