Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Solve Grand Challenges of Modern Society.


What is the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. The Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) aims to inspire young students to explore challenges and opportunities which support the “continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful.”

As Grand Challenge Scholars (GCS), students explore relevant global topics such as affordable clean energy, access to renewable environmental resources, technology solutions in healthcare, and other challenges that impact how we live. The fourteen challenges span four domains in sustainability, health, security, and the joy of living.

How Can I Apply?

Click the application link above! Lyle encourages SMU students from all disciplines who desire to engage in a robust educational and professional development experience to apply to the program. Students who enjoy rigor, hands-on learning and a healthy dose of competition are encouraged to pursue this unique experience. Applications for the upcoming year open in April. 

Are Research Opportunities Available?

As GCS, students select one grand challenge research extensively alongside an SMU faculty member and an industry mentor. In addition to research, students build an interdisciplinary portfolio through taking non-engineering classes, completing an internship and impact community service, performing entrepreneurial activities, and participating in multicultural encounters over the course of their college career.

Need More Information?

Email Kathy Hubbard at or Beryl Hellinghausen at to learn more about becoming a Grand Challenge Scholar. 

Student Information Faculty Information Industry Mentor Program