Creating a meaningful list of “grand challenges” is a good way to stoke the flames of intellectual ambition and productivity.
Grand Challenges inspire collective action by organized communities. Such lists exist in chemistry, engineering, global health, environmental science, sustainability science, computer science, mathematics, nanotechnology, among other fields. Those writing in the social sciences and in academic planning schools are less likely to articulate grand challenges. This difference can partly be explained by a postmodernist suspicion of universal claims and grand narratives.
Visit The Global ARC’s Grand Challenges Blog to participate in an ongoing discussion on this issue. The comments received will become part of a roundtable discussion scheduled for the next World Planning Schools Congress in Perth, Australia (July 4-8, 2011).
For a bibliography with some annotation, see: Grand_Challenges-Nov2010.pdf