Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact (see the Grand Challenges fact sheet).
With input from people around the world, an international group of leading technological thinkers were asked to identify the Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st century. Their 14 game-changing goals for improving life on the planet, announced in 2008, are outlined here. The committee suggested these Grand Challenges fall into four cross-cutting themes: SUSTAINABILITY, HEALTH, SECURITY, and JOY OF LIVING.
Grand Challenges for Development mobilize governments, companies, and foundations around important issues. Through these programs, USAID and public and private partners bring in new voices to solve development problems. They source new solutions, test new ideas, and scale what works. Since 2011, USAID and its partners have launched 12 Grand Challenges. To mark the first decade of Grand Challenges, we conducted a meta-level evaluation. Learn more about the results here.
Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.
The Grand Challenges Initiative provided a critical opportunity to bring mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders to the forefront of global attention and scientific inquiry. The aim of the initiative was to identify research priorities that, if addressed within the next decade, could lead to substantial improvements in the lives of people living with neuropsychiatric illnesses. A grand challenge was defined as a specific barrier that, if removed, would help to improve the lives of those affected by mental, neurological, or substance use disorders. For the purposes of the Grand Challenges Initiative, the broad category called ‘mental health’ referred to factors (including disorders) influencing the health of the mind, brain, and nervous system.
Grand Challenges are ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation to solve important national or global problems and that have the potential to capture the public’s imagination.
An Agenda for the Future of Governance: As the world moves quickly from the industrial age into the information age, new challenges have arisen and demands on government have increased. But the public sector has often been in a reactive mode—struggling to adapt to a rapidly evolving international, economic, social, technological, and cultural environment. Over the next decade, all sectors of society must work together to address the critical issues of protecting and advancing democracy, strengthening social and economic development, ensuring environmental sustainability, and managing technological changes. And governments at all levels must improve their operations so that they can tackle problems in new ways and earn the public’s trust.
The WCRP Grand Challenges represent areas of emphasis in scientific research, modelling, analysis and observations for WCRP and its affiliate projects in the coming decade. They were developed by the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) through consultation with WCRP sponsors, stakeholders and affiliate networks of scientists. WCRP promotes the Grand Challenges through community-organized workshops, conferences and strategic planning meetings to identify exciting and high-priority research that requires international partnership and coordination, and that yields “actionable information” for decision makers.
The UCLA Grand Challenges initiative connects faculty, students and supporters from all disciplines to work together, adopting a holistic approach to solve critical issues. We bring passionate participants together to dream big and think grand about what we can achieve when we set our sights on common goals.
The Grand Challenges of our time will impact the human condition for generations to come. The University of Louisville has chosen to concentrate its research and scholarship efforts behind three Grand Challenges, knowing the solutions we find could make a difference and create a thriving future for Louisville, for Kentucky and for the world. To us, Grand Challenges are big, global problems we, the UofL community, can help solve through multi-disciplinary research, scholarship, innovation and partnerships. At UofL, our Grand Challenges are Empowering Our Communities, Advancing Our Health and Engineering Our Future Economy.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln community has identified seven grand challenge thematic areas in which to focus its expertise and resources, as outlined in the N2025 Strategic Plan. Now, faculty are charged with imagining how their areas of research, scholarship, creative activity and outreach intersect with these challenges and what specific opportunities within these areas they could work across disciplines to help solve.
Launched in 2020, Climate Grand Challenges is mobilizing the MIT research community around some of the most difficult unsolved problems in adaptation, carbon removal, climate science, climate policy, human impacts, and reducing emissions. These are problems whose solutions could move the needle in the world’s climate response, and where progress depends on applications of frontier knowledge and the advancement and application of cutting-edge technologies.