Grand Challenges Scholars

In a letter to former President Barack Obama in 2015, the University of Delaware joined more than 120 U.S. universities in a commitment to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century. 


These "Grand Challenges," identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, include complex yet critical goals such as making solar energy cost-competitive with coal, engineering better medicines, providing access to clean water for nearly a billion people who lack it, ending extreme poverty and hunger, securing cyberspace, and advancing personalized learning tools to deliver better education to more individuals.

Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.

Steve Jobs

Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.

Steve Jobs

How to Apply

The fall 2022 application for Grand Challenges Scholars is now open and can be found on an admitted student's portal, My Blue Hen Home.


The priority deadline is March 25, 2022, however, applications will remain open until programs are at capacity. Students who apply will receive a decision by mid-April.


Program Highlights

The Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) is designed to provide UD Engineering undergraduate students like you with the opportunity to be immersed and engaged in the most pressing societal concerns of our time. Specifically, GCSP provides a developmental framework for you to focus on academics and extracurricular activities organized around the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges, which broadly include Healthcare, Security, Sustainability and Quality of Life.

A Four-Year Experience


As a UD GCSP Scholar you will engage in coursework and experiential opportunities that integrate five core educational components: 

  • Element 1: Hands-on project or research experience
  • Element 2: Interdisciplinary Curriculum
  • Element 3: Entrepreneurship
  • Element 4: Global Dimension
  • Element 5: Service Learning

Specialized Coursework


You will have the opportunity to participate in entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary courses, such as:

  • ANTH 382 - Anthropology and Business
  • CISC 356 - Intellectual Property in the Digital Age
  • ECON 350 - Economics of Entrepreneurship
  • ENTR/BUAD 352 - Business Launchpad: Turning Ideas into Successful Companies
  • LEAD 300 - Leadership, Creativity, and Innovation


The Grand Challenges Scholars Program is administered by UD’s College of Engineering, where world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities and well-established internships provide the tools, experience and unparalleled education that make UD Engineering students competitive in a global job market. Cross-disciplinary training programs, collaborative research opportunities and problem-based scholarship connect students with real-life learning in each of UD’s nine undergraduate engineering disciplines. Graduates of UD’s College of Engineering are highly skilled, well trained and intently focused on making the world a better place for generations to come.

College of Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

Grand Challenges is open to first-year students admitted to any major within the College of Engineering.

Admitted students can access the essay prompts to apply through their My Blue Hen Home student portal. Students may apply to multiple programs, but will only be admitted to one program.

Learn More

For questions regarding admissions, please contact or 302-831-8123.