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Grand Challenges Scholars Program

What is the Grand Challenges Scholars Program?

Our nation and world face significant challenges in the broad areas of sustainability, health, vulnerability, and in improving quality of living globally. The National Academy of Engineering has identified 14 Grand Challenges in these areas and, along with the President of the United States, has called upon our nation's universities to prepare the next generation of engineers to address these problems. In response, in a letter of commitment to President Barack Obama, more than 120 U.S. engineering schools announced plans to educate a new generation of engineers equipped to tackle these most pressing issues facing our global society. A result of this commitment is creation of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program.

Program Opportunities

Miami’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) is open to any Miami undergraduate pursuing a bachelor's degree. 

As one of our Grand Challenges Scholars you have the opportunity to:

  • Design and complete your own educational experience that includes the following areas:
    • Research or hands-on work on a project that addresses one of the 14 Grand Challenges, which you select based on your interest.
    • An interdisciplinary component to help you to explore how to overcome potential barriers within society to implement solutions to the Grand Challenge.
    • An entrepreneurship experience to help you to explore market related skills in solving a Grand Challenge.
    • A global experience to help you to explore global issues in solving a Grand Challenge.
    • A service learning experience that helps you to examine potential social implications bring to bear solutions to a Grand Challenge.
  • Interact in small groups or one-on-one with a Grand Challenges Scholar In Residence, each semester.
  • Engage in, and plan, activities, social events, and other dimensions of the GCSP.
  • Receive mentoring from upper-class students, and become a peer mentor yourself.

Notable Student Impact

A student's experience is tailored to 1 of 4 general Areas of Interest: Sustainability, Health, Security, and Joy of Living.

These 4 Areas encompass the 14 Grand Challenges, which represent real issues that plague humanity.

Examples of student work:

  • Logan focused on the Health Area of Interest
    • Worked with the pancreatic cancer team to research the biomarkers in acing cells at different stages of pancreatic cancer
    • Worked in bioinformatics research to close the gaps in the genomes of unsequenced bacterium
  • Sam focused on the Joy of Living Area of Interest
    • Engaged in research in robotics, augmented reality, and autonomous processes
  • Luay focused on the Health Area of Interest
    • Engaged in protein engineering research

The College of Engineering and Computing