The Australian National University (ANU) has become the first Australian university to be accepted into the US National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars Program.
The move opens the way for ANU engineering and computer science students to join some of the world's best engineering students to tackle the major global challenges of the 21st Century.
Dean of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science Professor Elanor Huntington said the Grand Challenges Scholars Program was a natural fit for engineering programs at ANU.
"Engineering and computing at ANU have always had a strong focus on allowing students to apply their skills to practical solutions in areas of personal interest," Professor Huntington said.
"The Grand Challenges Scholars Program will give students the opportunity to apply their skills to some of the big issues facing the world, such as the need for clean energy, access to clean water, keeping cyberspace secure and the need for better medicines."
Professor Huntington said the Grand Challenge Scholars Program would be incorporated into ANU courses and promoted to other disciplines at ANU.
Jeremy Smith from the Research School of Engineering has led the introduction of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program to ANU. It is a combined curricular and extra-curricular program with five components that are designed to prepare students to be the generation that solves the grand challenges facing society.
In 2008, 14 grand challenges for engineering in the 21st Century were identified by the National Academy of Engineering. The challenges provide a framework for which the program's scholars focus on during their time in the program.
The program calls for institutions to think about engineering education and develop ways to prepare engineers to be world changers.
More information on the Grand Challenge Scholars Program can be found at http://engineeringchallenges.org/GrandChallengeScholarsProgram/14384.aspx.