Office of the President
Campus Messages

Taking on Humanity's Grand Challenges

By Darryll J. Pines

Dear Campus Community,

We write to you with great pride that the University of Maryland is investing $30 million into 50 projects across our campus to design impactful solutions to humanity's greatest and most complex problems.

Less than a year ago, we launched an ambitious initiative at the University of Maryland. We put out a call to all faculty to submit their best ideas for tackling the grand challenges of our time, and it was answered in inspiring and meaningful ways. Backed by an unprecedented $30 million in institutional investments and driven by our mission as a land grant institution, the Grand Challenges Grants program is the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind ever introduced at our university.

Our high expectations were exceeded by the submissions received from all across campus, and the process of selecting projects was highly competitive. Today, we are announcing a total of 50 projects that will receive Grand Challenges funding in four categories:

Every school and college at the university is involved in at least two awarded projects that address complicated issues. We hope you are as inspired as we are by this commitment to making strides on climate change, global health, racial and social justice, threats to democracy, pandemic preparedness, water and food security, sustainability, renewable energy, disinformation, future cities, ethical technology, and many others.

In the category offering the highest level of funding, the Grand Challenges Institutional Grants required applicants to propose new institutional structures that catalyze cross-disciplinary collaborations around a grand challenge focus or theme. Watch the video to learn which projects have been awarded Grant Challenges Institutional Grants. Each Institutional Grant project will receive a total of $3 million over the next three years.

Congratulations to the winners of the Grand Challenges Institutional Grants! To see the full interdisciplinary research team and learn more about each grant, please visit the project websites.

This initiative will provide monitoring and prediction to help protect Maryland communities from climate impacts and extreme weather, help policymakers and farmers optimize agriculture productivity and sustainability in the face of climate change, and reimagine experiential education for students.

The Global FEWture Alliance will collaborate with international partners to scale technology-based solutions, community building, and experiential education focused at the food-energy-water-climate-health nexus to alleviate food and water insecurity, protect environmental and global public health, and bolster community resilience in a changing climate.

This initiative incorporates partnerships in the fields of education, speech and language pathology, library sciences, policy, and community stakeholder outreach to drive integrative research and promote literacy and equity for marginalized communities across race, culture, ethnicity, and language, as well as neurodiverse populations.

We invite you to learn more about all the inspiring projects that were awarded funding through the Grand Challenges program by visiting

We also want to thank everyone woh submitted a proposal, dedicating their time and effort to developing solutions to the most pressing problems we face.

Congratulations to all the Grand Challenges winners! Your research and action moves us fearlessly forward.


Signature of President Darryll Pines

Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland, College Park

Signature of Jennifer King Rice

Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost

Gregory F. Ball

Gregory F. Ball
Vice President for Research