Engineering and Public Policy

One of the advantages of studying public policy at Georgia Tech is our placement in the midst of some of the top engineering programs in the world. As you think about the connections between engineering problems and policy problems it might be interesting to ponder a report from the National Academy of Engineering on the “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.” The report is at

Here is the study’s list of major engineering challenges, ordered by priority as determined by visitors to the NAE site:
1. Make solar energy economical
2. Provide energy from fusion
3. Provide access to clean water
4. Reverse-engineer the brain
5. Advance personalized learning
6. Develop carbon sequestration methods
7. Restore and improve urban infrastructure
8. Engineer the tools of scientific discovery
9. Advance health informatics
10. Prevent nuclear terror
11. Engineer better medicines
12. Manage the nitrogen cycle
13. Secure cyberspace
14. Enhance virtual reality

Why not comment on this list? What’s missing? How can public policy — and those who know how to shape or analyze it — affect engineering approaches to addressing these challenges?

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