Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges are big ambitious problems that face the society. Usually they tend to focus on the sciences and technology. While these goals don’t have a solution and are ambitious- they are not unachievable. Instead, they act more as motivational and require multi-disciplinary collaboration. An ‘iconic example’ of a grand challenge is when president Kennedy challenged the scientific community to achieve spaceflight in a given timeline. The science community had to use moon shot thinking in order to complete the impossible at that time task. Now, many years later this is why many refer to using ‘moonshot thinking’ when thinking about breaking intractable goals.

Grand challenges relate to a wide variety of issues such as new energy sources that are clean, affordable and reliable, cures for cancer, improving health care delivery and reducing the cost and others. Another grand challenge that is relevant today and closely linked with the 2030 global agenda are the new ways of teaching and learning, particularly that are inclusive in nature to excluded communities, such as persons with disabilities.  Disability and development is a grand challenge for the world: more than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability, which is 10% of the world’s population. Unlike many, persons with disabilities are the ones that face many barriers in accessing transportation, ICT’s, education, employment, political representation.  And these barriers are not the individual’s problem, but they are societal problems also. It is the society that created these barriers and it is our responsibility to help get ride of them.  This sort of exclusion isn’t just a moral rationale but it also has economic rationales. PWD have the potential to benefit everyone, by adding onto the labor market and economic development opportunities. In addition, incorporating people with disabilities is also now a legal responsibility thanks to the adaptation of the CRPD, which is designed to protect the rights and freedom and insure inclusion for persons with disabilities. Thus, it is up to our society to help incorporate inclusive educational policies. An example of a solution to this particular grand challenge is collabotory.