About Grand Challenges

A Better World Starts in New Mexico

A thriving, vibrant research community is essential to UNM and to the state of New Mexico’s economy and culture. Since at least the 1940's, New Mexico has hosted groundbreaking research and creative innovation across many fields, in part due to the combination of national laboratories, research universities, creative sectors rooted in the diversity of local cultures, military labs and the spectacular natural landscape. These have attracted talent and resources to our state and will continue to do so. Our current opportunity and challenge lie in assuring that together they generate an ecology of innovation that can foster a dynamic economy built on ongoing fundamental and applied research.

Grand Challenges are problems of global, national and regional significance that require researchers to work together across disciplinary boundaries to develop and implement solutions. Grand Challenges address problems that, when solved, have a significant positive impact on people and society. These challenges are large in scale, ambitious in scope, and multi-disciplinary. They have carefully developed goals that enable multiple paths towards solutions, and that are relevant across varied disciplines and communities.

The University of New Mexico is the state’s leading research institution. In the Spring of 2019, UNM launched three Grand Challenges (one led by UNM Main Campus, one led by UNM Health Sciences Center, and one with shared leadership between the two campuses). On February 5, 2019, UNM President Garnett S. Stokes announced that UNM’s three Grand Challenges will focus on the following areas: Sustainable Water Resources, Successful Aging, and Substance Use Disorders.