Choose Ohio First

Choose Ohio First: Grand Challenges


Choose Ohio First

This upper division Choose Ohio First track is modeled after the Grand Challenges Scholars Program and provides students the opportunity to develop and implement solutions in one of the Grand Challenges areas.  Students from all majors are able to take part in this interdisciplinary track as long as they commit to participating in project activities to satisfy each of the five areas of competency:

1. Research/design
2. Entrepreneurship
3. Interdisciplinary component
4. Global experience
5. Service learning


Grand Challenge Themes:

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) generated a list of 14 “Grand Challenges” that should be dealt with in order to improve our lives and future (  These challenges require the development and implementation of scientific and technological advances with the help of interdisciplinary approaches. 

Energy and Environment Grand Challenge Theme:
(1)          Make solar energy economical
(2)          Provide energy from fusion
(3)          Develop methods for carbon sequestration
(4)          Manage the nitrogen cycle
(5)          Provide access to clean water

Health Grand Challenge Theme:
(6)          Advance health informatics
(7)          Engineer better medicines

Security Grand Challenge Theme:
(8)          Prevent nuclear terror
(9)          Secure cyberspace
(10)        Restore urban infrastructure

Joy of Living Grand Challenge Theme:
(11)        Reverse engineer the brain
(12)        Enhance virtual reality
(13)        Advance personalized learning
(14)        Engineer the tools of scientific discovery


Applying for the COF Grand Challenges Track:

Students in any of the Choose Ohio First lower division programs can apply for this Upper Division track at the end of their Sophomore year.  The scholar must be in good standing in the COF program, including continuing in any of the approved COF majors. 

Students transferring to CSU as Juniors or Seniors may also participate, but must submit a general COF transfer student application indicating interest in the Grand Challenges Track or contact the COF Coordinator directly.

In their applications, scholars need to demonstrate their commitment to helping solve one of the Grand Challenges, including showing an understanding of the impact that social and global issues can have on implementing a solution.  Additionally, students must commit to participating in activities to satisfy each of the five areas of competency.


Track Procedures & Program Requirements:

COF Grand Challenge Scholars will work with a faculty mentor to choose a topic area and develop a plan to satisfy the five requirements usually in conjunction with capstone projects, such as senior design projects or honor’s theses.  This proposal will be approved by the Grand Challenges Advisory Committee.  At the end of each semester the scholars will submit a semester report detailing their activities.  Prior to graduation they will present a poster of their cumulated work and submit a final portfolio describing how their activities within the five competencies were combined to work towards a solution to a particular Grand Challenge theme. 

  1. Develop a Plan
  2. Submit Semester Reports
  3. Attend brown bag lunch meetings
  4. Participate in a Poster Presentation
  5. Create a Portfolio of Work


Track Activities:

The goal of this program is to acquire the technical and non-technical skills to needed to work on the Grand challenges.  The activities should be selected to complement each other and work together to prepare the Scholar to make the most impact.  An activity may be used to satisfy multiple competencies, but this should not be used to diminish the scope of the overall plan.

  1. Research/Design. Examples: undergraduate research programs, senior theses, or design projects
  2. Interdisciplinary component. Examples: Interdisciplinary course, Choose Ohio First seminars (Patent Law, Policy, etc.), interdisciplinary team project
  3. Entrepreneurship. Examples: submitting an invention disclosure, participating in start-up competitions (e.g. Startup Vikes), formal classes in marketing, patent law, intellectual property, etc.
  4. Global Dimension. Examples: research with global theme, study abroad, Engineers without Borders service trip, etc.
  5. Service Learning. Examples: Engineers without Borders, outreach to area K-12 schools, community service or tutoring program.

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Nolan Holland