Grand Challenges Scholars Program

The National Academy of Engineering called on an international group of leading technological thinkers to identify the greatest engineering challenges of the 21st century. The resulting 14 Grand Challenges support the century-long initiative for:

"Continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful."

About Grand Challenges

GCSP logo

The Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) is an education supplement for selected undergraduate engineering programs to develop five competencies promoting global awareness and social skills with a focus on the Grand Challenges. Each participating institution provides their own path for students to develop the following competencies:

1. Talent

Talent Competency: mentored research/creative experience on a Grand Challenge-like topic

2. Multidisciplinary

Multidisciplinary Competency: understanding multidisciplinarity of engineering systems solutions developed through personal engagemen

3. Business Viability

Viable Business/Entrepreneurship Competency: understanding, preferably developed though experience, of the necessity of a viable business model for solution implementation

4. Multicultural

Multicultural Competency: understanding different cultures, preferably through multicultural experiences, to ensure cultural acceptance of proposed engineering solutions

5. Social

Social Consciousness Competency: understanding that the engineering solutions should primarily serve people and society reflecting social consciousness

Why Participate

Dartmouth's GCSP offers a structured and supported path for students to deeply examine one of the 14 Grand Challenges and develop innovative solutions. Participants will have an opportunity to meld service- and impact-focused work with their undergraduate studies, and to connect with other GCSP students and alumni.

All GCSP graduates will receive commendation letters as well as a certificate and additional recognition from Dartmouth.


GCSP applicants will select a Grand Challenge and propose a plan to meet the requirement for achievement of the five major competencies listed above.

Learn more about GCSP requirements

This requirement can be partially met via courses completed as part of the undergraduate engineering sciences major. Beyond such courses, all GCSP students must complete the two core components of the Dartmouth GCSP:

  1. a mentored research experience or independent project, which can be for Dartmouth credit, and
  2. a related off-term experience—both relevant to the chosen Grand Challenge.

GCSP Completion Reports are due on the third Friday of each term for review by Dartmouth's GCSP Committee.

How to Apply

Dartmouth AB students may apply as early as Sophomore Summer. Dual Degree students may apply as early as their first term in residence at Dartmouth. Applications must be submitted no later than three terms prior to completion of their BE degree.

Learn more about applying to GCSP

GCSP Applications and Off-Term Experience Proposals (including funding proposals) are accepted each term (Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring) for review by the GCSP Committee. Both should describe an approach within the student's chosen grand challenge theme and make a case for its feasibility and impact.

Application deadlines are the third Friday of each term.

Late applications will be reviewed with the batch received the following term.


The Off-term Experience Proposal may include a request for Dartmouth GCSP funding. Funding proposals must be received a minimum of one-term prior to needing the funds and must meet the third-Friday-of-the-term deadline to be considered. The GCSP Committee will review each proposal and make decisions on the awarding of funds to support the initiative. The Committee will advise students on seeking funding from additional on- and off-campus sources including:

Faculty Advisors

Students will need a faculty member with expertise relevant to their chosen Grand Challenge to agree to serve as their advisor. Faculty will advise GCSP students on the research or independent study portion of the program, as well as the related off-term experience. Additional course and schedule advising will be provided as needed to ensure student fulfillment of the GCSP and Dartmouth requirements, while building a strong and cohesive engineering program plan.


Faculty Director

Professor Lee Lynd
+1 (603) 646-2231

Administrative Director

Holly Wilkinson
+1 (603) 646-3483