2011 Graduate Studies Program team projects announced

January 10, 2011

Each summer, the Graduate Studies Program class (GSP) is challenged with “Ten to the Ninth Plus” team projects — a highlight of the ten week program. The students spend several weeks working toward the goal of developing ideas and solutions that have the potential to positively impact at least one billion people within ten years. Teams from GSP09 and GSP10 have already made significant progress. This year, GSP11 students will choose one of six “grand challenge areas” to focus their projects, and we are excited to share them. The challenge areas (in no particular order) are:

Education Many of the world’s critical problems have a common root in ignorance, and educational technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity to reach billions of people, and build a future characterized by informed dialog, foresight, and systems that work. How can technology be used to provide personalized education to the world’s developing areas?

Security In a world plagued by wars, terrorism, and crime, nations seek many different kinds of security for their citizens, as well as freedom from fear and corruption. How can exponential technology be used to address and improve global security issues?

Energy Our civilization fundamentally depends on energy, and we need to make a rapid transition from low-efficiency systems and high dependence on fossil fuels, to high efficiency systems and cost-effective renewable fuels. How can exponential technologies be used to provide humanity with low-cost and abundant energy to meet their needs for prosperity?

Global Health There are large and growing discontinuities between current knowledge of public health and medicine and its effective application around the world – millions suffer and die from preventable diseases, and the entire world remains at risk of pandemics. How can technology be used to provide billions with low-cost, ubiquitous healthcare, and help to identify and prevent pandemics?

Poverty Living standards have increased significantly in the past two centuries, but more than 20% of the world today lives in extreme poverty —  unable to access resources that address their problems. How can exponential technologies be leveraged to create new jobs and wealth to alleviate poverty?

Space The grand challenge of space includes abundant energy and material resources, a planetary-scale network of sensors and systems measuring global conditions, and a vast, open frontier for exploration – but humans haven’t yet built industrial-strength solutions to realize these opportunities rapidly and cost effectively. How can the vast and abundant energy and material resources of space be used to address many of humanity’s grand challenges?

These areas were chosen because they are among the most pressing global grand challenges. And, based on the caliber of applications we’ve reviewed and students already selected, the class of GSP11 will be some of the most ready to develop the future-focused and innovative solutions required to effectively address each area. As always, we look forward to working with GSP11 to addressing these areas, and to help shape a more positive future!