Education & Advancement

Grand Challenges Scholars Program


In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering identified the Grand Challenges, 14 specific engineering challenges that needed to be met in order to preserve our planet and safeguard our civilization, focusing on sustainability, security, health, and enriching life. 

The next year, three engineering schools—Duke, Olin, and the University of Southern California—combined their resources to launch the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, an academic initiative designed to train the next generation of engineers to address these Challenges. The prestigious and highly successful program has had remarkable growth since then, with 97 engineering schools across the world joining the consortium; 1,760 Scholars graduated; national conferences held annually, and international conferences co-sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering held bi-annually in London, Beijing, and Washington DC; and a remarkable, worldwide 2020 initiative, the COVID-19 Engineering Call to Action, which leveraged the network to create an unprecedented international effort that brought together engineers from around the globe to combat the pandemic.