The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program with five components that are designed to prepare students to be the generation that solves the grand challenges facing society in this century.

In 2008, the NAE identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. The Grand Challenges are a call to action and serve as a focal point for society's attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life.

About the Program

How to Apply

Info for Students

Program 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 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

5. Service Learning

Developing and deepening students’ social consciousness and their motivation to bring their technical expertise to bear on societal problems

Programs such as Engineers Without Borders or Engineering World Health may be adapted to satisfy this component and/or the Entrepreneurship component.

An Open Invitation

Make This a National Program

Motivated by the National Academy of Engineering vision for the future and also by the increasing calls for a new engineering education paradigm, Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, and the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering proposed this new education model to prepare engineers to be world changers. The program was endorsed by the National Academy of Engineering in February 2009.

Envisioned to initially attract and incent a select cadre of 20-30 students at each school, it is hoped that it will be replicated at many other outstanding engineering programs across the country to yield for the nation a pool of several thousand graduates per year uniquely prepared and motivated to address the most challenging problems facing the world and the nation. Moreover, the program will also serve to pilot innovative educational approaches that will eventually become the mainstream educational paradigm for all engineering students.

It is anticipated that each participating institution will develop its own specific realization of the five components and that students who complete the program successfully will receive a distinction of Grand Challenge Scholar endorsed by their institution and the National Academy of Engineering.