About this Study
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a committee of prominent environmental engineers, scientists, and policy experts to identify grand challenges and opportunities in environmental engineering for the next several decades. The committee was also asked to describe how the field of environmental engineering and its aligned sciences might evolve to better address these needs
Rather than focusing on specific environmental engineering challenges, the committee chose to identify the most pressing challenges of the 21st century for which the expertise of environmental engineering will be needed to help resolve or manage. The committee sought input from the scientific community, nongovernmental organizations, and the broader public and benefited from ideas produced from four prior Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors workshops on Grand Challenges.1 In total, over 450 ideas for grand challenges were submitted. This report identifies five broad and interconnected challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that people and ecosystems thrive.
The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Delta Stewardship Council.
Domenico Grasso, Chair, University of Michigan, Dearborn
Craig H. Benson (NAE), University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Amanda Carrico, University of Colorado, Boulder
Kartik Chandran, Columbia University, New York City
G. Wayne Clough (NAE), Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
John C. Crittenden (NAE), Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
Daniel S. Greenbaum, Health Effects Institute, Boston, MA
Steven P. Hamburg, Environmental Defense Fund, Belmont, MA
Thomas C. Harmon, University of California, Merced
James M. Hughes (NAM), Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Kimberly L. Jones, Howard University, Washington DC
Linsey C. Marr, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
Robert Perciasepe, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Arlington, VA
Stephen Polasky (NAS), University of Minnesota, St. Paul
Maxine L. Savitz (NAE), Honeywell, Inc. (retired), Los Angeles, CA
Norman R. Scott (NAE), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
R. Rhodes Trussell (NAE), Trussell Technologies, Inc., Pasadena, CA
Julie B. Zimmerman, Yale University, New Haven, CT
About the National Academy of Sciences Engineering and Medicine
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Our work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.
Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.
Reports from the National Academies represent the evidence-based consensus of committees of experts convened to conduct a study. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Each report undergoes a rigorous and independent peer review process. National Academies reports can be found and downloaded free at www.nap.edu.
Buy the Full Report or Download a Free PDF
You can buy a full copy of the report in paperback or download a free pdf at The National Academies Press
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