Grand Challenges

Pillar 2: Grand Challenges

Tackling Critical Problems at the Edges of Human Endeavor

Consistent with our dual mandate to expand educational opportunities and address important societal challenges, we are well positioned to fully leverage the 4IR advancements in our existing strengths in research. The strategic plan tackles pressing grand challenges in the areas of space, human and intelligent systems as well as natural and built environment in a way that will fundamentally shape the future.

Pillar Owner: Kim Ogden

OSI Project Manager: Carlos Castellanos

The following Pillar 2 initiatives are moving forward in the first wave supported by college, department, unit and/or Strategic Initiatives Funds (SIF) support. If interested in learning more, University employees and students can read the full plan here. External constituents can read the plan here.

For questions, please contact Initiative Owners (listed below), Kim Ogden (Pillar Owner) or Carlos Castellanos (OSI Project Manager).

   # Initiative Owner email co-owner email
2.1A The University of Arizona Space Institute Tim Swindle Buell Jannuzi
The University of Arizona annually ranks #1 in space science funding nationally. To maintain that success, we will need to improve our infrastructure by establishing an Arizona Space Sciences Center with a Project Design and Management group of project managers, engineers and finance experts capable of designing major projects and an enhanced Proposal Preparation group, and by building facilities that can accommodate the major projects we need to undertake. The Arizona Space Sciences Center Project Design and Management group will provide a mechanism for UA to retain the best project managers, engineers, and mission finance experts.
2.1D Strategic Hires - Space Research  Kim Ogden    
Space is congested, contested and competitive. Our goal is to retain University of Arizona's leadership in developing space technologies that would monitor and protect planet Earth from man-made and natural space threats. UA will be the lead university to discover a majority of all hazardous near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 meters that are capable of destroying cities and create the first non-military catalog of all artificial objects larger than 20 centimeters in geostationary orbit to safeguard our nation's security using a next generation autonomous ground-based survey telescope network in combination with space-based telescopes.
2.2A Build upon UA eminence in environmentally-oriented areas of research and education Andrew Comrie Raina Maier
We are setting out to be a top ten ranked environmental university in the world. To achieve this goal we must not only excel in research on the natural and built environment but also lead in teaching, public service/community impact (i.e., land-grant), and creating a sustainable campus. We will realize this integrated vision by creating an innovative cross-cutting administrative leadership unit (a "virtual college") that serves, coordinates and promotes all environmentally-oriented people and programs on campus, and which capitalizes on and develops the UA's environmental brand by strengthening the Institute of the Environment or establishing a College of the Environment.
2.2D2  Start up of Building a Changing World Barbara Bryson Andrew Comrie
The UA strives to be the first university to develop a robust university-wide ecosystem supporting research, teaching, and service for the built environment, defining a new fully integrated discipline leveraging knowledge and research from all UA colleges. This capacity development effort will be built upon existing strengths such as public policy, environmental sciences, transportation, optical sciences, management, planning, data sciences, public health, geography, and materials. The first steps toward this goal is to conduct a campus-wide conversation about research goals through two workshops and a university symposium.
2.4A  Quantum Technologies and Convergence in the 4IR Nasser Peyghambarian    
This initiative brings together researchers from engineering, science, social sciences, humanities, law and business to a common space to investigate social impacts of quantum technologies and intelligent systems on human behavior, cyber security, privacy, hacking, and the effects of these technologies on people to people connections, communication, environment, computing, sensing, creation of jobs and trade. This initiative is envisioned to become a focal point for strategic thinking and creative innovation in quantum science and engineering.

Grand Challenges