Engineering Academies in the U.S., United Kingdom, and China Announce 2015 Global Grand Challenges Summit


Tue, August 25, 2015

Washington, DC, August 25, 2015 —

In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Royal Academy of Engineering, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering today announced the second biennial Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS).  The summit will be held in Beijing on Sept. 15 and 16, 2015.

The Beijing Summit is the second in a series inspired by the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering, 14 ambitious goals identified by some of this generation’s leading technological thinkers and doers that are believed to be both achievable and necessary to help people and the planet survive. The inaugural summit, held in London in 2013, focused on international collaboration to meet these challenges. Engineering leaders, policymakers, students, and other stakeholders will continue brainstorming paths forward in Beijing. The academies are organizing this event, underwritten by Lockheed Martin and Sinopec.

“The future of our planet as we know it depends on solving fourteen challenges outlined in the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering report including providing clean water for everyone, engineering better medicines, cybersecurity, health care, innovations in urban infrastructure, and of course, the educating the engineers who will tackle these global challenges,” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr.  “The three academies sponsoring this Global Grand Challenge Summit are dedicated to engaging global attention on these challenges."

The 2015 GGCS will focus on the themes of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering report: Sustainability, Health, Security/Resilience, and Joy of Living – along with Education, Energy, and Infrastructure. Through presentations and panel discussions, top experts will outline and explore ideas within and at the intersection of these areas. In addition, the summit will provide opportunities for networking among the expected 600 invited attendees.

Confirmed speakers include Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma; cybersecurity expert Maire O’Neill, Queens University Belfast; Roderic I. Pettigrew, director of the U.S. National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Chen Jining, minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China; and musician Two of the original NAE Grand Challenges committee members will also speak at the summit: Dean Kamen, founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corp., and Robert Socolow, co-director of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative and director of the Climate and Energy Challenge.

A detailed meeting program is posted here

On Sept. 13, there will be a Student Day during which undergraduate teams from the three host countries will compete in pitching entrepreneurial ideas for addressing one or more of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering. US teams competing in the challenge are from: Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The New York Institute of Technology, Olin College, The University of Tennessee Knoxville, and The University of Southern California. Student Day is sponsored by Bayeco.

“Across industry, academia and government, engineers are on the front lines tackling the toughest problems we face in society today—and anticipating the challenges of the future,” said Lockheed Martin Chief Technology Officer Keoki Jackson. “The Global Grand Challenges Summit is an opportunity to convene an international community and to set a path to realize the next great engineering achievements that will define the 21st century.”


The National Academy of Engineering, an independent, nonprofit organization, was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. Part of its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Its fellowship – comprising the U.K.’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for the academy's activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, it provides independent and impartial advice to government; works to secure the next generation of engineers; and provides a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

The Chinese Academy of Engineering is China's national academy of engineering and technological sciences. Its missions are to initiate and conduct strategic studies, to provide consultancy services for decision-making on key national engineering and technological sciences issues, and to promote the development of engineering and technological sciences in China for the benefit and welfare of society.

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