Grand Challenges in Development

Grand challenges are large-scale problems and challenges that require multifaceted approaches to solve. One famous example of a grand challenge is the moon landing, hence where another name for a grand challenge (a moonshot) derives its name. Grand challenges are not just extremely difficult problems the world needs to solve, there are issues so large it seems that no solution is possible. That is why a unifying factor for all grand challenges is the use of science and technology as a means to help solve these enormous problems. The global aspect of the grand challenges allows for increased innovation when it comes to attempting to solve them. Normal problem solving methods won’t make the cut where grand challenges are concerned. Researchers, scientists, and other “non-traditional” solvers must come together to think beyond what they believe to be possible to find solutions that can be applied to some of the must confounding problems the world faces today.

Science and technology are not only useful in terms of solving these grand challenges; they also spur innovation, creativity and job creation along the way. Through the process of solving grand challenges, an overall community of innovation can grow, which can them be applied to a wide variety of problems, grand challenges or not. One grand challenge that is now becoming more and more necessary to solve is the search for new energy resources. Other important grand challenges are cures for cancer, developing improved ways of teaching and learning, eradicating or finding vaccines for deadly diseases and improving food security.

In terms of development, USAID has come up with nine grand challenges. They believe that science and technology can lead to exceptional breakthroughs for the world as different organizations and disciplines come together to attempt to solve the grand challenges.

Development focuses grand challenges are all in the same domain as the grand challenges listed above. They focus on food security, eradicating diseases that plague the developing world, and finding different energy resources that can be used to provide fuel for people to power their homes and businesses. Grand challenges and the people that devote their careers to solving them are especially important as they allow for increased innovation in not just their own domain but in others as well as people are able to take ideas and apply them to their own area of focus. The innovation and creativity that come out of the attempts to solve grand challenges help make the world a more diverse and compelling place.