NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering

2015 Global Grand Challenges Summit Student Day

***Suggested syllabus for developing business plan.***

***Judging Criteria***

The second Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS) on the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering will be held in Beijing, China, on September 14-16, 2015. The Summit is being jointly organized by the NAE, the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE). The event will be hosted by the CAE. The first GGCS was held in London in March 2013.

An important part of the event is the Student Day, which will precede the official beginning of the 2015 GGCS. At the London event, Student Day involved a day-long business plan competition among students who attended the Summit. The 2013 Student Day competition focused on ideas related to the Grand Challenges. For the Beijing Summit we envision an expanded version of this concept, as follows. 

Undergraduate student teams of six members each will be formed before the end of 2014. There are two possible options for a team:

Option 1
teams will represent a single school of engineering or regional partnerships between schools.
Option 2
: a team will consist of students from two or three countries (with at least 2 students from each country).

We have a goal of 30 students representing each of the three countries (US, China, UK), for a total of 90 students, at the Summit in Beijing. For both options team members must designate a team leader; and the leader is required to be an engineering student.

Teams will propose and develop a business plan for a start-up based on an idea/concept related to the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering. The 14 challenges are outlined at The Challenges fall within four categories: Sustainability, Security, Health, and Joy of Living. Each team’s proposed business plan will be developed prior to the Summit, starting in January 2015 and ending with the final competition held during Student Day in Beijing in front of a judging panel of entrepreneurs and innovators. 

Both options for participation noted above are available, though we would like to encourage teams to consider the three-nation Option 2. Applications must be submitted to the email address by December 15, 2014.

The application should consist of a one-page description in English of the following:

(1) names and contact address of the students interested;
(2) topic selected;
(3) option preferred; and
(4) a plan stating how the team will advance its idea for the Student Day competition. 

Mentors will be recruited for each team by January 15, 2015. Part of the business proposal criteria includes market research; we will require teams to interview five people in the customer discovery process during the course of the project. The recently established Los Angeles I-Corps NSF National Node ( will provide educational material and software on entrepreneurship to help with the development of the business model, including training on customer discovery techniques.

Depending upon interest, an event may be held near the end of the Spring Semester 2015, at a location to be determined, in which US teams will compete for the five finalist spots that will compete at the Beijing Summit in September. All participating teams are expected to attend the Summit. It is anticipated that the teams selected will receive some travel support from the Summit sponsors, with all local expenses and accommodations in Beijing covered.

Questions should be directed to Yannis C. Yortsos, USC Viterbi Dean of Engineering and US Student Day organizing committee lead:

Frequently Asked Questions here.