What is a
grand challenge?

It is 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.

What is a Grand Challenge?

Simply put, a grand challenge is a significant problem that is large in scope and results from complex causes.

These are complex problems related to poverty, health and access to health care, drug addiction, violence, homelessness, education, pollution, sustainability, and social justice.

The solution or solutions to these problems will positively impact a large number of people and society in general.

Progress towards solutions requires a combination of innovative approaches, technologies, treatments, and/or policies. Interdisciplinary and convergent approaches are essential.

What is the UAB Grand Challenge?

On this campus we are known for being in the community and of the community. As such, it is our responsibility to work with our partners to create knowledge and solutions.

The UAB Grand Challenge Program is designed to energize the outstanding talent on and around our campus to participate in identifying and solving complex societal problems.

The UAB Grand Challenge, as part of “Forging the Future” the UAB strategic plan, serves to unite university activities (teaching, research, scholarship, commercialization, patient care, and service) along with the capabilities of partnering organizations to make life better for people.

They will solidify partnership, meet milestones, develop a realistic sustainability plan, and leverage this initial UAB support to allow the project to continue beyond the seed funding period.

The Process

In late 2017 and early 2018 numerous meetings, sessions, and gatherings were held across campus and in the community to discuss the concept of a UAB Grand Challenge.

A call for ideas in in the Spring of 2018 resulted in 77 concept papers on a multitude of topics.

Following a two-day workshop in the summer of 2018 with over 200 university and community participants, 13 teams self-formed to consolidate their ideas eventually leading to six fully-formed and worthy proposals.

These proposals were peer-reviewed by national experts and senior leaders at UAB. Difficult as it was to choose, they selected “Healthy Alabama 2030: Live HealthSmart” under the leadership of Dr. Mona Fouad.