From Grand Challenges to Thriving Communities

A hub for locating UT resources, people, stories, and understanding the connected web of some of Tennessee’s most important issues.

“We cannot look at Grand Challenges and not see how there’s so much interconnectedness that goes on from one to the other.”

—   Alicia Maya Donaldson, Program Director & Professor, UT Martin Social Work Program 

What are Grand Challenges?

Grand Challenges are complex, interconnected, large-scale problems that create uncertain futures.

By harnessing the collective power of human relationships, research, science, technology and imagination, UT and its partners are aiming to create a future where every Tennessean can thrive. To do so, we are focusing initial efforts in three key areas of the state: advancing K-12 education, strengthening rural communities and overcoming addiction.

To view a Grand Challenges map from the barriers/problems perspective and see the connected parts and related issues, click here.

Find UT Programs and Projects

A tool for finding UT programs, projects and people engaged in Grand Challenge work.

Stories from Across the State

Community Registered Nurse Navigator Project

The UT Knoxville College of Nursing received a $5.5 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Health in January of 2022 to charter the Community Registered Nurse Navigator Project to partner with community entities to assess barriers to routine immunizations.

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Tennessee Recruiting Teachers with Fast-Growing Program

‘Grow Your Own’ program uses apprentice-style teaching to attract future teachers.

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WestTeach Graduates

Fourth Class of West Tennessee Teachers Graduates from WestTeach

Alyssa Bynum and Bob Sparks live in different West Tennessee communities, but they share some things in common.

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IPS Podcasts

In Touch with Tennessee is a podcast of The University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service (IPS). IPS, through its six agencies, is the university’s source of outreach for public service entities and industries across Tennessee. The podcast features interviews with IPS’s agency expert consultants and trainers about the impact they are making across the state and trends affecting Tennesseans.

Great Resignation

To access all IPS podcasts visit: