Welcome from Summit Chair

On behalf of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.

We’re here to focus on the progress necessary to maintain and improve our quality of life in a growing and increasingly complex world. The actions we take – or fail to take – are going to shape our lives as individuals, families and as a nation for generations to come.

In science fiction, civilization is often saved from catastrophe in a race against time. As the clock ticks toward doomsday, the stories’ heroes find an antidote to a rampaging virus, a way to survive a global-scale natural disaster or avert a violent attack.

It doesn’t happen that way in real life. The most effective ways to ensure our health, safety, freedom and prosperity for the future are a lot less dramatic. It takes years of committed, coordinated and sustained effort.

That’s why we’ve organized the Phoenix Grand Challenges Summit.

Engineers want to make solar energy and other sources of clean and renewable energy more economical, provide more effective health care and medicines, and better ways to manage and recycle the increasing amount of waste materials our growing populations are creating.

We want cleaner air, abundant safe water, innovative ways to educate our children and young adults, and better safeguards against global terrorism and related threats.

Our commitment to achieving the goals spelled out in the NAE’s “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century” goes beyond rallying experts to take up our cause.

We are here to open a public dialogue and provide an effective decision-making role for the community. To sustain efforts that will achieve our goals, we need to hear from many voices in our society. We know we cannot do any of it alone. So we invite you to add your voice to the discussion.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the summit, and thank you for attending.

Deirdre R. Meldrum, Ph.D.
Dean, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Director, Center for Ecogenomics, Biodesign Institute
Professor of Electrical Engineering in School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
Arizona State University