Public Release:  Engineering academies in US, UK, and China announce Global Grand Challenges Summit

National Academy of Sciences

Washington, DC, November 14, 2012 - The US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) today announced a major international summit to explore new approaches for solving some of the world's most pressing challenges. The summit, to be held in London on March 12-13, 2013, will bring together many of today's leading thinkers and innovators with the next generation of engineering talent from around the world.

The inaugural Global Grand Challenges Summit is a new collaboration of the NAE and the national academies of engineering in the United Kingdom and China. This two-day event will spark discussion and debate, with a goal of identifying opportunities for global cooperation on engineering innovation and education to address common technological goals. More than 400 people--from industry, research, education, and policy--will participate at the event, which will also be webcast to a worldwide audience.

Sessions will focus on issues of sustainability, health, education, technology and growth, enriching life and resilience. Participants will discuss ways of developing the collaborations, networks and tools to take on complex global issues.

Speakers include: Caltech's Frances Arnold, Imperial College professor Lord Darzi, University of Cambridge professor Dame Ann Dowling, former DARPA head and present Google/Motorola exec Regina Dugan, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Stanford University president John Hennessy, prolific inventor Dean Kamen, MIT bioengineer Robert Langer, and genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter. Many more speakers will be announced in the coming months.

The academies are organizing this event with the support of Lockheed Martin and the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The summit was inspired by the NAE's 2008 report "Grand Challenges for Engineering," findings of an international panel of leading scientists and engineers which are already having wide-ranging impacts, particularly in US education through initiatives like the Grand Challenges Scholars Program. The Global Summit builds upon a series of US summits.

"Engineers hold the key to addressing many of the world's greatest challenges, but we will only solve these if we become more systematic in the way we educate, innovate, and collaborate," said Royal Academy of Engineering president Sir John Parker. "This major international event will push for a sea change in the way engineers interact with each other, with other disciplines, with policymakers and with society at large. It will also highlight the excitement of cutting-edge engineering and showcase the central role engineers will play in delivering a safe, sustainable and prosperous future."

"The prosperity of future generations relies on unprecedented levels of interdisciplinary and international cooperation in pursuit of solutions to global challenges," said NAE president Charles M. Vest, President of the US National Academy of Engineering. "Whether the task is providing clean water for a rising global population or developing the resilience of our infrastructure to climate change, solutions demand more than isolated scientific breakthroughs. Instead, it is time to explore what could be accomplished with a globally-integrated systems approach."

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Founded in 1964, the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.

The Chinese Academy of Engineering is the Chinese national academy of engineering and technological sciences. Its missions are to initiate and conduct strategic studies, to provide consultancy services for decision-making on key national engineering and technological sciences issues, and to promote the development of engineering and technological sciences in China for the benefit and welfare of society.

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