Grand Challenges Program Publishes 2007-2010 Progress Report

Igor Heifetz ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

In December 2010, PEI published a Progress Report chronicling early success towards implementing the Grand Challenges Program at Princeton. With a bold commitment to providing leadership and solutions for a globally connected world, Princeton’s Grand Challenges Program is an ambitious and broadly inclusive University initiative designed to tackle complex and vexing global environmental problems by fully integrating the research and teaching missions of the University. The program engages faculty from disparate disciplines with postdoctoral fellows and students at all levels of the Princeton University community to examine the scientific, technological, policy, and human dimensions of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

Since the Program’s inception three years ago, over 75 Princeton faculty from 28 departments have become involved in research and teaching initiatives. More than 30 new interdisciplinary research projects have been funded, including 27 seed projects. Princeton students are benefitting from a suite of new courses, engaging in hands-on laboratory and field experiments, designing and conducting independent field research projects, and participating in an extensive internship program with destinations around the globe.

Grand Challenges research and teaching activities are principally centered around three research cooperatives: the Siebel Energy Challenge, the Sustainable Development Challenge, and the Health Challenge. The Siebel Energy Challenge confronts climate change, the management of fossil-fuel carbon, the expansion of non-fossil energy sources, and other environmental impacts of the energy system. The Sustainable Development Challenge seeks to eliminate poverty in Africa while conserving the continent’s biodiversity and vast store of natural resources. And the Health Challenge focuses on developing methods to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases around the globe.

The Grand Challenges Program has spearheaded 44 new or significantly modified courses, 220 undergraduate internships in 35 countries, 75 senior thesis research awards, and supported the research of 64 graduate students. The Program fosters a novel approach to developing solutions and seeks to educate Princeton students to become a generation of leaders uniquely prepared for a globally interconnected and resource challenged world. To learn more or to obtain a copy of the Progress Report, please visit the Grand Challenges website at http://www. or call PEI: 609-258-5985.