How Scholars are Selected

Students who complete the program successfully will receive a distinction of Grand Challenge Scholar endorsed by their institution and the National Academy of Engineering.

An invitation to apply will be sent to all junior students during the fall semester. Students will be invited to an open informational meeting at which GCSC members describe the goals of the program and answer questions.

Prospective students must submit a research proposal (including a budget), and GCSP resume before the Thanksgiving Break. Each proposal must consist of the following components:

  • A description of the Grand Challenge identified as the “GC Focus” of the proposal (1 page)
  • A resume describing how the GCSP portfolio requirements were (will be) met – for the pilot year, you may pledge to meet the portfolio requirements
  • An explanation of how the student’s curricular and co-curricular GC portfolio (presented in the resume) addresses the targeted GC Focus (1 page to supplement the GCSP resume)
  • A prospectus/proposal for the proposed GC summer research project (5 pages)
  • A budget and budget justification of up to $3,000 in expenses to be used towards completion of the GC summer research project (1 page)
  • A current Lafayette College transcript, and
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the proposed faculty mentor

The Lafayette College GCSP Steering Committee will review proposals immediately following the Thanksgiving Break. Successful applicants will be notified prior to the end of fall semester of the junior year. There is no minimum GPA other than good standing. Both domestic and international students are eligible to apply. Proposals will be judged according to:

  • GCSP resumes. The strongest proposals will be from students demonstrating sustained involvement in GC-related activities prior to submitting an application.
  • Project proposal – The centrality of the NAE Grand Challenge to the project, the quality of the research approach/method, the feasibility to be completed within the time frame, and the contributions of each team member if a team is proposed.

Once fully implemented, a maximum of 10 students, working on up to 10 projects, will be funded each year. You may work in teams or as individual researchers.

Note: 2010-2012 are the pilot years for the Program with funding available for approximately 5 students working on up to 5 projects.


Informational materials about the program will be sent to 2nd year students so they are aware of the program, and the program will be broadly advertised on the website.