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Grand Challenges

The First Step Grand Challenges Program invites undergraduate students from all disciplines to identify important societal and environmental challenges and develop novel solutions to address the challenges. Faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to attend this year's Poster Presentations & Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the STAR Health Sciences Complex.  
Questions? General questions about First Step Grand Challenges should be sent by email to Kelly Stevenson.  Please specify First Step in the subject line.

October 4, 2016  |  5:30 p.m.  |  Information Session at STAR Campus Health Sciences Complex


October 14, 2016   |  Applications Were Due

October 17, 2016  |  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Incubator Event at Venture Development Center (VDC)

October 25, 2016  |  Selected Teams Notified of $500 Grant Awards

October 2016 – April 2017  |  Monthly Meetings with Mentor

November 2, 2016  |  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Kickoff Workshop Event at Venture Development Center (VDC)

February 15, 2017  |  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Check-In Event at Venture Development Center (VDC)

March 8, 2017  |   5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  PowerPoint Presentation Pitch/Report Prep at Venture Development Center (VDC)

March 22, 2017  |  By 5:00 p.m.  |  Written Project Reports and PowerPoints DUE

April 3, 2017  |  5:30 – 8:30 p.m. |  Poster Presentations & Awards Dinner, Health Science Campus – STAR Atrium

April 25, 2017  | 4:00-9:00 p.m. |  Hen Hatch & Innovation Showcase

Students are invited to submit proposals focused on any societal or environmental Grand Challenge (e.g. health disparities, sustainable energy, economic development, education opportunity divide). For inspiration on topic selection, students should consider the following:



Examples of projects include but are not limited to proposals for addressing grand challenges through practice, policy, technology, social venturing, business, or research.

Details pertaining to team composition, mentors, program deliverables, funding awards, and more are available on the Program Details page.
First Step Grand Challenges was developed by leadership from the College of Health Sciences, including Dean Kathy Matt.  Since 2015-16, it has expanded to operate as a University-wide platform supported by the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship and the College of Health Sciences.