Grand Challenges of Engineering Annual Award for Undergraduate Students


The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the

21st Century:

In many cases, the Grand Challenges that have been identified by NAE are highly interdisciplinary

problems in which UB has strong competencies. For example, the School of Engineering’s (SOE) Wireless Mobile and Communications Laboratory is dedicated to cyber-security – one of the identified Grand Challenges. In addition, the University of Bridgeport has partnered with Face Checks, a new venture at the CTech IncUBator, our on-campus, high-tech business incubator. Face Checks specializes in biometric cyber-security applications. Another example would be within the area of energy and sustainability, which is one of the existing Grand Challenges. The Renewable Energy Research Laboratory works with the FuelCell Energy Company on many exciting environmental projects. A third example within the area of scientific discovery would be the research centers that UB has in the fields of Robotics, Intelligence Sensing and Control (RISC) and biomedical engineering and nanotechnology (for additional information see:

Announcement of Award

The University of Bridgeport is pleased to announce a Grand Challenges of Engineering Scholars Program. Each academic year a cohort of undergraduate students will be selected to enroll in the program. Every selected student will be awarded $2,000 (two thousand dollars) disbursed over a period of two years while the student is enrolled in the program. The students who complete the program also will be recognized via a Grand Challenges Scholar Certificate and UB transcript designation.

Expected Activities of Selected Students

After training and demonstrating eminence in interdisciplinary research and development, global engagement, service, and entrepreneurship exceptional students in the program will be designated as Grand Challenge Scholars. Students joining the program are expected to select one of the Grand Challenges for Engineering and will plan and conduct a research project with a faculty mentor over a 1.5- 2-year period. Components of the Grand Challenge program may include internships, entrepreneurship, research publication, conference and competition participation, overseas experiences, course work, clubs / societies memberships, university services, and community services.

Minimum Criteria

All undergraduate students in Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering are encouraged to apply if they have between 60 to 80 credit hours remaining (after Spring 2017) to complete their undergraduate degree. Applicants should have a minimum of a 3.3 cumulative GPA.

Application Process

The application period has past for the 2016-2017 academic year.  New applications will be available in Spring 2017 for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Materials that will be required will include:

  • Current resume.
  • Copy of transcript (A Webadvisor copy is acceptable).
  • A 2-3 page statement that serves to:
  1. identify one or two of the 14 Grand Challenge areas you are interested in;
  2. explain your interest in the program; and
  3. elaborate on science or engineering based-activities you have conducted in the past and/or expect to continue or to begin working on during the Summer 2016 – Spring 2018 time frame.

For more information about the program, contact:

Dr. Jani Pallis

Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

University of Bridgeport, School of Engineering

126 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604

Engineering – Technology Bldg – Office 133
Telephone: (203) 576-4579

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