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Media Advisory 08-014

Engineering: Grand Challenges for the 21st Century

Blue ribbon panel to announce their findings at AAAS meeting in Boston on Fri., Feb. 15

February 13, 2008

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

For the last year, an 18-member blue ribbon panel has been determining key grand challenges that will face society in the 21st century, challenges for which engineering will provide the solutions. Convened by the National Academy of Engineering at the request of the National Science Foundation, the panel included experts from a wide range of fields, from a founder of Google and a pioneer in the mapping of the human genome to a Nobel laureate and a past director of the National Institutes of Health.

Members of the panel will announce the challenges--findings that considered input from countless members of the engineering community and general public and were reviewed by more than 50 experts--on Feb. 15, 2008, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston.

Reporters registered for AAAS (only) can attend.

What:News conference to announce the Engineering Grand Challenges
When:Friday, Feb. 15, 2:00 p.m. EST
Where:American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, Room 112, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Mass.
Who:Charles M. Vest (President, National Academy of Engineering)
William J. Perry (former U.S. Secretary of Defense, current Stanford University professor)
Ray Kurzweil (Kurzweil Technologies)
Calestous Juma (Harvard University)

For more information, contact Randy Atkins, Senior Media Relations Officer National Academy of Engineering, 202-334-1508,

More information about the Engineering Grand Challenges can be found at

The committe members who devised the challenges are:

William Perry (chair)Robert Langer
Alec BroersJaime Lerner
Farouk El-BazBindu Lohani
Wesley HarrisJane Lubchenco
Bernadine HealyMario Molína
W. Daniel HillisLarry Page
Calestous JumaRobert Socolow
Dean KamenJ. Craig Venter
Raymond KurzweilJackie Ying


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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