Program Description & Application


The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has identified 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.

In many cases, the Grand Challenges that have been identified by NAE are highly interdisciplinary problems in which UB has strong competencies. For example, the School of Engineering’s (SOE) Wireless Mobile and Communications Laboratory is dedicated to cyber-security — one of the identified Grand Challenges. In addition, University of Bridgeport has partnered with Face Checks, a new venture at the CTech IncUBator, our on-campus, high-tech business incubator. Face Checks specializes in biometric cyber-security applications. Another example would be within the area of energy and sustainability, which is one of the existing Grand Challenges. The Renewable Energy Research Laboratory works with the FuelCell Energy Company on many exciting environmental projects.

Announcement of Award

University of Bridgeport is pleased to announce a Grand Challenges of Engineering Scholars Program. Each academic year a cohort of undergraduate students will be selected to enroll in the program. Every selected student will be provided funding in the junior and/or senior year for travel and/or supplies disbursed over a period of two years while the student is enrolled in the program. The students who complete the program also will be recognized via a Grand Challenges Scholar Certificate and UB transcript designation.

Expected Activities of Selected Students

After training and demonstrating eminence in interdisciplinary research and development, global engagement, service, and entrepreneurship exceptional students in the program will be designated as Grand Challenge Scholars. Students joining the program are expected to select one of the Grand Challenges for Engineering and will plan and conduct a research project with a faculty mentor over a 1.5- 2-year period. Components of the Grand Challenge program may include internships, entrepreneurship, research publication, conference and competition participation, overseas experiences, course work, clubs / societies memberships, university services, and community services.

Minimum Criteria

All undergraduate students in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering are encouraged to apply if they have at least 60 credit hours remaining (after Spring 2022) to complete their undergraduate degree. Applicants should have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Application Process

Please complete and submit an application. Materials that will be required will include:

  • Current resume
  • Copy of transcript (A Webadvisor copy is acceptable)
  • A 2-3 page statement that serves to:
    • identify one or two of the 14 Grand Challenge areas you are interested in;
    • explain your interest in the program; and
    • elaborate on science or engineering based-activities you have conducted in the past and/or expect to continue or to begin working on.

More information on the 14 National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges can be found at the Academy’s website:

For more information about the program, contact:

Dr. Jani Pallis, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Bridgeport School of Engineering

Engineering Technology Building, Office 156
126 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604