The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently put out a public call for ideas that could form Grand Challenges, which are ambitious but achievable goals that would lead to substantial breakthroughs in science and technology.
Grand Challenges would have a major impact on fields such as health, energy, sustainability, education, economic opportunity, national security, and human exploration. They also would help drive and harness innovation and advances in science and technology.
Other organizations also have called for challenges to promote science and technology innovation. For example, X Prize recently announced its top list of eight key challenges that could become public competitions in the near future, which include a personal health monitoring system, brain-computer interfaces, wireless power transmission, and ultra-fast point-to-point travel.
In addition, the National Research Council recently highlighted five challenges that focus on new optics and photonics technologies and improving the energy grid. OSTP deputy director Thomas Kalil also has highlighted several challenges and ideas, such as encouraging research universities to launch the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, which enables engineering students to organize their coursework, research, service, international studies, and experiential learning. Report