The Grand Challenges

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) released a list of fourteen Grand Challenges for engineering in the 21st century in order to achieve a sustainable, economically robust, and politically stable future for generations to come. These challenges range from the most basic of human needs to the extraordinary. The fourteen Grand Challenges are listed thematically below:

Energy & Environment

  • Make solar energy economical
  • Provide energy from fusion
  • Develop methods for carbon sequestration
  • Manage the nitrogen cycle
  • Provide access to clean water


  • Advance health informatics
  • Engineer better medicines


  • Prevent nuclear terror
  • Secure cyberspace
  • Restore urban infrastructure

Learning & Computation

  • Reverse engineer the brain
  • Enhance virtual reality
  • Advance personalized learning
  • Engineer the tools of scientific discovery

For more information on the NAE Grand Challenges, visit the NAE Grand Challenges website