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Why & How Universities Should Take on Moonshots

University-led Grand Challenge or “moonshot” initiatives unite faculty from diverse fields to solve specific societal problems, demonstrating the value of the university to their communities. Such efforts provide a unique opportunity to engage outside stakeholders and offer students real-world experience on issues of personal importance. At this panel, learn how to launch, sustain, and build external partnerships to solve specific Grand Challenges while demonstrating value to the public.

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  1. Define core attributes of successful grand challenge research programs that serve both academic stakeholders and society at large.
  2. Prepare for inevitable roadblocks that will arise, from earning stakeholder buy-in to managing faculty team dynamics and sustaining program funding.
  3. Understand what motivates prospective donors, foundations, and corporate partners to support a university-led Grand Challenge.



Adrienne Dawson, Research Communications Manager, The University of Texas at Austin

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