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About Grand Challenges

Program Leadership

Grand Challenges

The Grand Challenges Program was launched in 2007 as a collaboration involving the Princeton Environmental Institute, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Today more than 90 members of the faculty from 29 academic disciplines are participating in research and teaching cooperatives framed around global environmental issues in climate and energy, sustainable development in Africa, and global health and infectious disease. The research enterprise serves as the framework for an extensive association of scholars and supports innovative academic programming that involves students from across the University. The Program fosters a novel approach to developing solutions and a new generation of global leaders.

Grand Challenges Research

The Grand Challenges Program is principally organized around several interdisciplinary research cooperatives that are the foundation of an integrated strategy for developing solutions and leadership in climate and energy, water and the environment, sustainable development and global health and infectious disease.

Funding is available for faculty seeking to pursue Grand Challenges-based research and curriculum development and for students who wish to engage in Grand Challenges research and independent study with connections to targeted themes. Faculty seeking to redirect their research activities to address dimensions of the climate and energy, water, and health challenges may apply for seed funding as part of campus wide Calls for Proposals, administered annually.

Grand Challenges Education

The Grand Challenges Program provides multiple opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to develop their understanding of complex environmental issues. An extensive network of courses has been identified in each of the focal areas including offerings within the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities divisions. Course related fieldwork, hands on laboratory exercises, an extensive internship program, and support for independent field research are part of the Grand Challenges Program’s commitment to foster experiential learning and exposure to cutting edge research.

For more information: 

Grand Challenges Program
Princeton University
Guyot Hall, Room 129
Princeton, NJ 08544

Grand Challenges

Campuswide Participation

Educational Innovations

  • 35 new courses
  • 817 undergraduate internships in 47 countries
  • 435 senior thesis research awards

Enhanced Graduate Education

  • 101 graduate students on research projects
  • 30 two-year fellowships for Ph.D. candidates
  • 68 Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars 

"The Grand Challenges program has catalyzed cross-department and interdisciplinary interactions that have enriched our research."

Margaret Martonosi
Professor, Electrical Engineering

Zoe Sims

"My Grand Challenges internship experience invigorated my passion for ecology and the critical, big-picture questions it allows us to pose. It opened my eyes to the career possibilities within ecology and academia, and reinforced my awe for the science and mystery of the natural world."

Zoe Sims ’17
Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology Major