Worcester Polytechnic Institute Named a Grand Challenge Scholars School by The National Academy of Engineering

August 9, 2017– The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has named Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) a Grand Challenge Scholars School in recognition of the university’s unique approach to educating and empowering students to research and implement sustainable solutions to significant challenges facing society. The Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) is designed to prepare students to address the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges proposed by the NAE, which relate to global needs in food, clean water, energy, healthcare, the environment, education, and more.

“This is truly an exciting moment for WPI,” said President Laurie Leshin. “The NAE’s Grand Challenges program aligns well with WPI’s longstanding commitment to giving students the skills and experience they need to address pressing societal issues that threaten people, the planet, and the future. We are delighted to work with NAE to recruit students into the Grand Challenge Scholars Program and further inspire them to effect real change in their world.”

WPI’s Grand Challenges Scholars will actively engage in research and problem solving associated with a selected Grand Challenge; explore interdisciplinary coursework; gain an international perspective; engage in entrepreneurship; and give back to the community through hands-on projects.

“WPI is well positioned to participate in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program,” said Winston ‘Wole’ Soboyejo, Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering at WPI. “The key components of the program—research, interdisciplinary work, global experience, and entrepreneurship—align with the university’s curriculum and our dedication to providing the world with capable and engaged problem solvers.”

WPI expects to have 30-40 students participate in the Grand Challenges Scholars Program in the first year, ultimately expanding to 100 students per year.

Problem solving through project-based learning has been at the core of the WPI curriculum since 1970, when the university adopted a revolutionary new undergraduate program known as the WPI Plan. The new approach balanced theory and practice and replaced the traditional, rigidly prescribed engineering curriculum with a flexible and academically challenging program aimed at…

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