About UCLA Grand Challenges

The UCLA Grand Challenges initiative connects faculty, students and supporters from all disciplines to work together, adopting a holistic approach to solve critical issues. We bring passionate participants together to dream big and think grand about what we can achieve when we set our sights on common goals.

Complex challenges require creative solutions

As a research university, UCLA has the intellectual capital and resources it takes to explore society’s most challenging issues. In addition, we are inspired to develop solutions that improve quality of life in the U.S. and around the world. At UCLA, we firmly believe that for every problem there is a solution, and we call upon that optimist spirit throughout this initiative.

It takes a unique approach

UCLA Grand Challenges represent a new paradigm for university research. This new approach involves building a team, creating partnerships across sectors, facilitating collaboration, soliciting new perspectives, producing transformational work, evaluating and reporting on progress. Each Grand Challenge serves to align the creativity and talents of many around one ambitious goal.

What makes UCLA’s program so impactful?

This initiative was established in 2012 with the premise that by working together with shared goals, the UCLA community could have an even bigger impact on society’s greatest problems. Currently, there are two grand challenges: the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge and the Depression Grand Challenge.

The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is focused on transitioning Los Angeles to 100% renewable energy, 100% locally sourced water and enhanced ecosystem health by 2050, starting with an implementation plan that will be delivered by 2020. In achieving these goals, we will make the region a model for the whole world.

The Depression Grand Challenge is designed to help us understand, prevent and treat the world’s greatest health problem. Depressive disorders represent a huge challenge to global health in the 21st century. Together, we will eliminate the burden of depression by gaining a better understanding of the disease while developing more effective prevention techniques and treatments.

How are students involved?

Students are involved in the Grand Challenges as champions for the causes, as members of research or support teams, and through specific courses tied to the Grand Challenges.