6. Midterm - Grand Challenges

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Mother with son in the DRC

MIDTERM - a research assignment, discussion, MidTerm quiz

Learning outcomes

  • learn about the current challenges to benefit humanity now and in the future
  • consider the impact of technology on reaching global challenges
  • research progress made to date
  • discuss work currently underway around the world


  • global, society, development, non-government organization (NGO), goals, humanitarian, equity, access

Study notes

  • Who is identifying the most important problems that need to be solved?
  • How are challenges set? How is progress measured?
  • Are the goals being met?
  • How are technologies - specifically computers and the internet contributing to meeting the challenges?
  • How can you help?

MidTerm - Grand Challenges

Technologies and the internet impact social issues that are important to countries with cities, internet access, stable governments, courts of law, regulations, good healthcare and education systems. However, there are large populations throughout the world that do not share these benefits.

Since 1994, XPRIZE has designed and launched multi-million dollar prizes in the domain areas of Space, Oceans, Learning, Health, Energy, Environment, Transportation, Safety and Robotics. The XPRIZE challenge focus areas bring attention to the problems that face the world's population now and in the future, and direct resources and innovation to resolving them. The background information about each XPRIZE challenge focus area is provided.

  • For the MidTerm project, learn about and report on how computers, the internet and technology are being used to provide solutions for ONE of these XPRIZE challenge focus areas. You will be sharing your information as a post on the CIS2 Computers and Society blog and as a link to your blog post in the Grand Challenge discussions. ... See Help edublogs

  1. Review the Grand Challenges listed in the Media section below. Look through the detailed descriptions for the challenges on the XPRIZE web site. Pick one of the Grand Challenges that interests you to research and report on for your project topic.
  2. Join the CIS2 Computers and Society class blog.
    This is link to the "invitation to create a student account https://edublogs.org/?join-invite-code=7777167-21wcis2
  3. Research & Publish - What is the current status of work on the Challenge you selected? How will technology help meet the Challenge that you investigated? What worked? Why was it successful? Research the topic to find answers to these questions. Then suggest ideas for resolving these problems. Create your project report as a blog entry for sharing your research and resources. Cite at least three (3) resources that describe the work of groups trying to solve the Challenges you selected using technology. Include specific examples. Include your name and Challenge as the title. Publish your project report blog entry.
  4. Also post a link to your project report, along with a brief description of the impact to the corresponding Grand Challenge discussion topic.
  5. Submit the project report link as Assignment MidTerm - Grand Challenge Report.

  6. Participate in the discussion topics for each of the Grand Challenges. Review the projects "published" to each discussion. Learn more about each of the challenges, why they are important and what is being done about each that showcases the use of technology. For EACH of the Challenges, find an additional resource that talks about the problem and suggests solutions to this Grand Challenge. Post your resource and comments to the discussion for each Challenge selected.

  7. Grand Challenges for Engineering discussion - There are many OTHER challenges and technologies to provide solutions. Grand Challenges for Engineering identifies some important ones. What are some that interest you? Is it the problem or the technology possibilities? Does the technology exist to address these challenges? Application? Scalability? Sustainability? What is the hold-up? Find 2-3 additional resources that address other concerns not already covered by the Challenge projects. Post links and a question about each to the discussion.

  8. Project Groups Discussions - Your score will be based on your participation and contributions to the group. Do let me know if you get stuck and need clarification on how these groups should function. Every one is different. That’s part of the learning experience. Check your participation in your Project Groups Discussions. If you have been participating, great. You can go back to previous activities and contribute if you have missed some.

  9. Questionable benefits - For the Challenge that you researched, what questions do you have about the benefits to mankind that technology has brought (and can bring) to the world? What problems might be caused by technology? Ask 2-3 questions and describe why you think we should be wondering about the answers to these questions now? How would you find answers? Suggest ways to answer these questions. Submit this as your I wonder... assignment.

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Grand Challenges

New Challenges are added as needs and sponsors are identified. Challenges XPrizes are awarded at the end of the competition period for that Challenge.

  • Gigaton Scale Carbon Removal * XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity — fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, an extraordinary milestone. 2021.2.13 ... https://www.xprize.org/prizes/elonmusk
  • Tomorrow’s Proteins * XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion is a four-year, $15M competition that will incentivize teams to produce chicken breast or fish fillet alternatives that replicate or outperform conventional chicken and fish in: access, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, nutrition and health, as well as taste and texture. 2020.12.7 ... https://www.xprize.org/prizes/feedthenextbillion

Grand Challenges - sample resources

Fusion 2100 | Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik
video 9:01 How will a fusion power plant work? Where does fusion research stand today? The film "Energy of the Future. Fusion 2100" gives an entertaining and informative nine-minutes acco...
Majik Water: A Magical Solution to Kenya’s Water Crisis - engineering.com
Majik Water—a machine that harvests clean, potable water directly from moisture in the air. There is six times more water in the air compared to all the rivers of the world combined and, by tappi...
Nanoscale 3D Model of Membrane Could Revolutionize Desalination - engineering.com
need to make density uniform throughout membranes to promote increased water flow without sacrificing salt removal. The researchers estimate that membrane efficiency can consequently be increased b...
Applying Human-Centered Design to Refugee Challenges in Dadaab, Kenya | International Development Innovation Network
" Catherine Rakama recently began working with refugees in the largest camp in the world, Dadaab in Garissa County, Kenya, to build refugees’ skills in coding, app development, and human-cen...
The US reaffirms its commitment to ensure girls across Afghanistan have access to the knowledge and skills they need to build a better future for themselves , their families, their communities and...
Empower the Girl Child. Give Water.
clean water. As a first world country we always put enough thought into the topic. In third world counties, this is an everyday problem which we as a society should help put efforts into fixing....
How Solar Energy Can Help the Economy - Solar Energy World
Solar Energy World is a Maryland based company solely devoted to installing solar panels on top of any building with a roof. What also adds to the incentive besides free power, the cost of investme...
The Era of Nanorobots: How Technology Is Reinventing Medicine | Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, Technology and Medicine News Updates From Asia
team is developing lipid capsules, which function like artificial cell membranes, as drug carriers. The capsules are studded with polyethylene glycol (PEG), a synthetic chemical found in shampoo, r...

2016.6 594 . 2018.6 2196