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The Catalyst

In 2015, the Stanford School of Engineering sought input from hundreds of people across the University to determine in which areas they could make the greatest world-changing impact, and how Stanford Engineering should be structured to address the major opportunities and challenges of the future. The recommendations and ideas were organized into the Future 10 Grand Challenges:

  • How can we ensure that humanity flourishes in the cities of the future?
  • How can we engineer matter from atomic to macro scales?
  • How can we use autonomy to enable future technologies?
  • How can we use our strength in computation and data analysis to drive innovation?
  • How do we achieve effective yet affordable healthcare everywhere?
  • How do we create synergy between humans and engineered systems?
  • How do we secure everything?
  • How do we sustain the exponential increase in information technology performance?
  • How do we provide humanity with the affordable energy it needs and stabilize the climate?
  • How good can we get at engineering living matter?

Recognizing that solutions to the Future 10 Grand Challenges would require a new space to foster earnest interdisciplinary collaborations as well as support for Stanford faculty to take bold risks and explore far outside their traditional bounds of research, the Stanford Catalyst for Collaborative Solutions was formed in late 2016. The Catalyst will provide project funding and strategic workshops in support of interdisciplinary research across the School of Engineering, the University, and beyond, to achieve impactful and lasting solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Along the way, we aspire to become an internationally recognized model of a purposeful, high-impact, and interdisciplinary research ecosystem.

We are seeking to fund two team projects in our pilot year, each receiving $3 million over 3 years. Our project teams must address a significant societal concern like mentioned in one of the Future 10 Grand Challenges and satisfy the project proposal guidelines. We are looking for bold approaches with the potential of achieving lasting solutions.

The full Request for Proposals including proposal submission guidelines will be released by December 6, 2017; the deadline for proposal submission is February 23, 2018. For inquires, please email


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