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An introduction to the Grand Challenges at Boise State

Video: Boise State’s Grand Challenges

Video has closed captions and a transcript is provided on this page.

Boise State defines a Grand Challenge as an urgent, societally-relevant issue that requires creativity and transdisciplinary collaboration to answer.

The university has committed to answering Grand Challenges by connecting expert scholars and creating partnerships across sectors. In breaking down disciplinary silos, researching complex issues together and engaging passionate students in research, Boise State University Grand Challenge initiatives are:

  • Contributing to solving the most pressing issues of our time,
  • Producing graduates who are ready to make a difference
  • Expanding the university’s innovative ecosystem,
  • Furthering the university’s educational mission through research.

The Division of Research and Economic Development invites you to follow the progress of these Grand Challenges here on Update, on the Grand Challenges website, and on the Boise State Research LinkedIn page.

Those with questions about the Grand Challenges, or who are interesting in getting involved, please contact Jana LaRosa at

Video Transcript

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[Nancy Glenn, Vice President of Research and Economic Development]: What’s a Grand Challenge and why do they matter to Boise State? A Grand Challenge is a complex, urgent and societally relevant issue that requires creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration to find answers. For example, how do we create an Idaho that is healthier for everyone? How can we help urban and rural systems become more resilient and sustainable in the face of unprecedented growth and the climate crisis? At Boise State, we’ve committed to answering these kinds of challenges by researching complex issues together and engaging passionate faculty, students and stakeholders in our work. By investing our time, energy and resources into these Grand Challenges, Boise State is contributing to solving some of the most pressing issues in our region. Producing graduates who are ready to make a difference in the workforce and the world. Expanding our innovative ecosystem, and furthering our educational mission through research.

[Jana LaRosa, Vice President for Research Advancement and Strategy]: What are Boise State’s Grand Challenges? At Boise State, faculty, staff, students and collaborators are currently engaged in two Grand Challenge efforts. These are the Resource Nexus for Sustainability, and Healthy Idaho. The Resource Nexus for Sustainability is about exploring and navigating the complex interactions between natural and built environments. For example, this Grand Challenge relates to Idaho’s swiftly growing population and the challenges that urban development present to natural environments, like the sustainability of our energy and our water resources. The goal of this Grand Challenge is to better understand these interactions and build more resilient and sustainable urban and rural systems. The Healthy Idaho Grand Challenge is intended to improve physical and social conditions to foster healthy and thriving communities throughout Idaho. From the most rural community to bustling urban centers, promoting a healthier state means investigating challenges such as the impact of wildfire smoke, and finding innovative solutions to address it through creative research and collaboration with stakeholders across the state.

[Nancy]: How can you get involved in the Grand Challenges? The Grand Challenges can only be solved with great collaborators. If you’re inspired to collaborate with us, please contact the Division of Research and Economic Development.

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