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

Advancing K-12 Education

Strengthening Rural Communities

Strengthening Rural Communities

Overcoming Addiction

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.

Explore Grant Opportunities

We are committed to supporting and collaborating to bring about a brighter future for all Tennesseans

View Grants

Stories from Across the State

Teacher helping students in a class room with an assignment.

Tennessee Grow Your Own Center Awarded 1.8M Grant to Tackle State’s Teacher Shortage

The Tennessee Grow Your Own Center has been awarded a $1.8 million grant over two years by Ascendium Education Group to strengthen the teacher talent development pipeline across Tennessee.

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Young people sitting in a circle

Mocs Recovery Program Earns National Accreditation

The Mocs Recovery Program, a collaboration between the Center for Wellbeing and the Counselor Education Program, has been fully accredited through the Association of Recovery in Higher Education’s Standardized Review for Collegiate Recovery Advancement.

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Elementary school teacher greeting his students with a hi-five!

TDOE Announces Teaching as a Profession (TAP) Pre-Apprenticeship Pilot Program

The TN GYO program, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, seeks to provide aspiring educators with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in their teaching pursuits.

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Grand Challenge Podcasts

Interview with UT System President Randy Boyd on Rural Challenges