Grand Challenges Scholars Program

The United States National Academy of Engineering has identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering and called for a new engineering education paradigm – the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) – to prepare engineers to address those challenges and help change the world.

The GCSP has been implemented at engineering schools around the world, with more schools planning to join this initiative. NYUAD recently became a member and in Fall 2020, will be an active participant in this global effort on the part of engineering schools and industry to address some of the most crucial issues of our time and to prepare students to find innovative solutions to the challenging problems facing humanity as exemplified by the Grand Challenges.

NYUAD Engineering and GCSP is a Natural Fit

Consonant with the NAE’s Vision for Engineering in the current century, “Continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, safe, healthy, and joyful”, the GCSP is envisioned as a combined curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular program with five competencies especially designed to prepare students to address major global challenges facing society in this century. The five competencies are: 

  1. Research/Creativity: Mentored research or project experience to enhance technical competence 
  2. Multidisciplinarity: Understanding of the multidisciplinary character of implementable solutions 
  3. Business/Entrepreneurship: Understanding that viable business models are necessary for successful implementation 
  4. Global/Multicultural: Understanding that serious consideration of cultural issues is mandatory for all viable solutions 
  5. Social Consciousness: Motivation to address societal problems, often gained through service learning, because serving people and the planet is the vision served by the Grand Challenges 

The mission of the NYUAD Engineering Division is to educate and shape leaders in engineering, technology, and innovation for the modern, technologically advanced, competitive global society. To fulfill this mission, the Engineering Curriculum has incorporated the following highlighted features: 

  • Engineering curricular depth built on the foundations of a multidisciplinary liberal arts core; the blurring of boundaries between engineering traditional disciplines, and curricular integration across science and engineering
  • Emphasis of innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship through curricular requirements, as well as available via extra-curricular activities and on-campus programs/resources 
  • Required semester-long study away in New York or Shanghai campuses, and up to two January terms abroad 
  • Co-curricular “Engineers for Social Impact (EfSI)” activity required for first year engineering students, and optional follow-on EfSI project opportunities for upperclassmen 
  • Summer research opportunities on campus, and resources for summer internships available to all continuing students 

The breadth and features of the NYUAD engineering education have significant overlap with, and complement the GCSP in supporting its implementation at NYUAD.

This program will be launched in Fall 2021. For more information, please contact Sunil Kumar, Global Network Professor of Engineering and NYUAD Grand Challenges Scholars Program Director.