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Grand Challenges

The First Step Grand Challenges Program invites undergraduate students from all disciplines to identify an important health related, societal and/or environmental problem and develop a novel solution that addresses it.  Faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to attend this year's Poster Presentations & Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 2, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in the STAR Atrium.





Questions? General questions about First Step Grand Challenges should be sent by email to Kelly Stevenson.  Please specify First Step in the subject line.


September 26, 2017 5 – 7 pm Information Session STAR Health Sciences Complex
 October 9, 2017 Applications were due
October 17, 2017 5 – 7 pm Incubator Event STAR Health Sciences Complex
 October 20, 2017 Selected Teams Notified
 October 30, 2017 5 – 7 pm Kick-Off Workshop Event STAR Health Sciences Complex
 November – February Monthly Meetings with Mentor
February 12, 2018 5 – 7 pm Check-In Event Venture Development Center (VDC)
 February 26, 2018 5 – 7 pm PowerPoint/Report Prep and Pitch Event Venture Development Center (VDC)
 March 18, 2018 Project Reports DUE

 April 2, 2018

5 – 8 pm Awards Ceremony / Poster Reception  STAR Health Sciences Complex
April 24, 2018 TBD 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.