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February 13, 2024 | Tom Ballard

UT System allocates up to $5 million for Grand Challenge Grants

The program is focused on three areas of significant statewide need: (1) advancing K-12 education; (2) strengthening rural communities; and (3) overcoming addiction.

In a move to foster collaboration and drive positive change, the University of Tennessee (UT) System announced this week the launch of the UT Grand Challenge Grants with a commitment of up to $5 million to tackle Tennessee’s most pressing challenges.

The grants are open to faculty and staff at all UT campuses and institutes. The initiative is designed to spur innovative solutions to positively impact Tennessee communities while cultivating relationships across UT campuses and institutes.

“The UT Grand Challenge Grants underscore our commitment as a land-grant university to delivering meaningful change throughout Tennessee,” UT President Randy Boyd said.

Originally launched in 2023 to tackle complex, interconnected issues affecting the lives of Tennesseans, the Grand Challenges are focused on three areas of significant statewide need:

  • Advancing K-12 education;
  • Strengthening rural communities; and
  • Overcoming addiction.

Last week, more than 80 individuals from the UT System, state government, and community organizations gathered for a mini-summit to discuss, collaborate and exchange ideas about the Grand Challenges. During the event, Bernie Savarese, UT System Vice President for Academic Affairs, Research, and Student Success, announced the launch of the UT Grand Challenge Grants.

“Through this investment, we empower our faculty and staff across all UT campuses to address pressing issues in K-12 education, rural communities and substance abuse and misuse. This initiative will foster collaboration and also reinforce our dedication to enhancing the quality of life for all Tennesseans,” said Savarese.

The Grand Challenge Grants will be awarded through a competitive review process by internal and external experts to ensure the selection of exceptional proposals that will have a lasting impact.

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