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2023-2027 Strategic Plan

Researcher standing in a rice field

Pillar 1 | Grand Challenges & research

Research and applied impact, including service and community engagement.

Grand Challenges Outcome 1 Outcome 2


Outcome 1

Grand Challenges, which leverage faculty interests and strengths to meet society's future needs, are integrated in department degree programs, prioritized in cross-disciplinary research, and highlighted in advancement activities.

About Grand Challenges

UW CEE is embarking on a series of Grand Challenges that civil and environmental engineers are uniquely positioned to solve. These Grand Challenges extend far beyond the realm of engineering and offer opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration.

UW CEE students and faculty will tackle Grand Challenges together through research and coursework, equipping students to build a more resilient and sustainable world through their studies and careers.

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Key strategies:

  • Work with UW Advancement to design messaging that leverages Grand Challenges, identify target sponsors and donors, and start a campaign to fund seed grant proposals and funds to incorporate Grand Challenges into curricula.
  • Identify opportunities to ground curricula in Grand Challenges, including existing applicable coursework and gaps in curricula that should be addressed.
  • Identify ways to use the Grand Challenges in student recruitment.
  • Coordinate with Professional and Continuing Education and others for market research on viability of various thematic certificates/programs.
  • Review of submitted Grand Challenge proposals to evaluate areas of success/weakness and identify strategies for the future.

Outcome 2

Increased involvement in large-scale proposals and awards; win or act as a major partner in three or more $10 million+ awards.

Key strategies:

  • Build community in areas related to Grand Challenges and establish key external partnerships and projects.
  • Include stakeholder community in existing work and on smaller proposals.
  • Identify faculty training needs to support writing large proposals.
  • Identify and commit departmental and university financial and other support for larger proposal development.