You probably don’t realize it, but engineering impacts your life every day. Think about the breakthroughs made in the 20th century that many of us now take for granted: electricity, clean water, cars, planes, cell phones, the internet and more. All of those are among the greatest achievements in engineering during the 20th century. While we don’t know yet what the most impactful innovations will be during this next 100 years, we know there will be society transforming changes brought about by engineers.
In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. These problems were identified by the NAE as being of utmost importance to humanity, and described as ‘call to action and serve as a focal point for society's attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life’. The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program designed to prepare students to be the generation that solves the grand challenges facing society in this century. Many universities are participating in the program and NDSU has been selected as one of them and is offering this program to undergraduate engineering students.
"We highly encourage students to consider applying to be a Grand Challenge Scholar. The unique element of this program is that it is experiential based. While we often teach what and how, this program helps students understand why." - Dr. Michael Kessler, Dean, College of Engineering
The Grand Challenges Scholars program at NDSU is a comprehensive research immersive program for energetic and ambitious undergraduate students who wish to participate in this great national venture of engineering. Graduates of this program are expected to be among the key players in solving the grand challenges to humanity. This program will selectively recruit students who are currently freshmen, as described in the application process. Participation in the program will be concurrent to student preparation towards their degrees in their respective departments in engineering. Upon selection, students will work on a project synergistically with the faculty in charge and graduate students.
The list of Grand Challenges to be tackled is presented below:
1. Advance personalized learning
2. Make solar energy economical
3. Enhance virtual reality
4. Reverse-engineer the brain
5. Engineer better medicines
6. Advance health informatics
7. Restore and improve urban infrastructure
8. Secure cyberspace
9. Provide access to clean water
10. Provide energy from fusion
11. Prevent nuclear terror
12. Manage the nitrogen cycle
13. Develop carbon sequestration methods
14. Engineer the tools of scientific discovery