The Ritchie School is looking for ambitious students who want to work collaboratively on a team of diverse students to find solutions to complex challenges such as virtual reality, solar energy, urban infrastructure, cybersecurity, and clean water.


Making Advancements in Today’s Challenges. Creating Tomorrow’s Global Leaders.

With a mission of advancing technical and scientific knowledge and capabilities to improve quality of life for our global society the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science is a natural fit for the Grand Challenges Scholar Program. The program is a unique opportunity for our students to gain the expertise, knowledge, and social, ethical, and environmental awareness needed to become leaders in addressing the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges.

Our students have the unique opportunity to work with a team of fellow Grand Challenges Scholars towards sustainability, security, health, and joy of living advancements while focusing on the five core competencies.  

GCSP Competencies:

– Hands-on Research project related to one of the Grand Challenges

– Interdisciplinary curriculum

– Entrepreneurship experience

– Approaching work from a global and multi-cultural perspective

– Social consciousness and service learning

Becoming a Grand Challenges Scholar

All incoming students who are interested should enroll in the Engineering Connections Seminar (ENGR 1511). This course is required for all engineers, but we encourage everyone else interested in Grand Challenges to enroll as well. This is a one-credit class for the fall quarter. 

What Are The Grand Challenges?

At the turn of the century, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) reviewed the engineering achievements that transformed our society and identified 14 Grand Challenges for the 21st century. The NAE identified these challenges with the goal of leveraging the expertise of engineers and computer scientists to find impactful solutions to real world problems.

The Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP), in turn, is designed to revolutionize our engineering and computer science education to prepare the next generation of engineers and computer scientists with the knowledge, skills, tools, and mindset to solve these grand challenges.

Each of the challenges serves to make an advancements in one or more of the areas of  four areas of focus:

Sustainability, Health, Joy of Living, and Security. 

Advance Personalized Learning

Engineer Better Medicines

Virtual Reality

Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure

Make Solar Energy Economical

Advance Health Informatics

Reverse-Engineer The Brain

Secure Cyberspace

Provide Access to Clean Water

Provide Energy from Fusion

Prevent Nuclear Terror

Manage the Nitrogen Cycle

Develop Carbon Sequestration Methods

Engineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery