Our world has many problems. Together, we will find solutions.

Forging the Future, the UAB Strategic Plan, calls for the launch of one or more Grand Challenges at UAB. These are projects that unite unique UAB expertise—research, scholarship, teaching, commercialization, patient care, community service—around a single issue of high importance.


What is a grand challenge?

Grand Challenge concept papers are now posted on this site. Read them all here.   

It’s a problem that is large, complex and multi-faceted.

Solving this problem requires a combination of technologies, treatments, approaches and/or policies. And the solution will positively impact a great number of people.


For example?

Several organizations and institutions have taken on grand challenges in recent years. The National Academy of Engineering has laid out 14 grand challenges for the profession in the 21st century, including preventing nuclear terror. At UCLA, faculty, staff and students are developing technologies, strategies and policies to make Los Angeles County 100 percent sustainable by 2050. Indiana University has joined a statewide effort to combat the epidemic of opioid addiction and other addictions in Indiana.

A UAB grand challenge might aim to make Birmingham the healthiest city in America. Or tackle the complex of problems surrounding an aging society.


What is the timeline?

Learn more about the Grand Challenge from Dr. Christopher Brown in this town hall presentation.
Read the Grand Challenge RFP and an overview presentation describing the UAB Grand Challenge. (Updated March 21.)

The Grand Challenge will be selected in a multi-stage process, beginning with concept papers submitted by May 1, 2018.

Any UAB student, faculty or staff member may submit a proposal. The process began with an official request for proposals in March. 

Ideas in the concept papers will be refined in workshops during the spring and early summer of 2018. Teams will submit planning proposals in fall 2018 and a full proposal in January 2019. The final decision and announcement will be made in spring/summer 2019.


Who will choose UAB’s Grand Challenge?

UAB’s vice president for research, Christopher Brown, Ph.D., is leading the Grand Challenge effort, along with Lee Moradi, Ph.D., director of UAB's Engineering and Innovative Technology Development group, who is serving as Grand Challenge project manager. A selection committee composed of UAB faculty and administrators will make the final project decision.

The Grand Challenge winner will receive substantial support from the UAB Strategic Investment Fund, matched from other sources. Funding will be up to five years in duration, with annual funding contingent on appropriate progress.

Back to Top