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Grand Challenge - Deliverables


A group of four students, trained in different Evolution or Revolution topics, will try to identify a problem, issue, challenge, question, technology that needs to be addressed in order to improve the lives of all the organisms of our planet, increase their chances of surviving the anthropocene, and/or of minimizing human impact on our planet, or increase their chances of surviving the anthropocene on this or another world.


The identified problem should be of a scale which is addressable by people such as yourselves (undergraduates), in a feasible amount of time, given access to subject experts, appropriate resources, and through applying the concepts of science and technology you have learned in your Foundations of Science units. You should spend no more than 3 years to solve this problem if you are working in an “Evolution” team, or 1 year to develop a pilot prototype of a disruptive technology if you are in a “Revolution” team.


You will be working as a team to clearly identify a research question or solvable problem, and outline a strategy to answer the question or provide a solution

By noon on November 12, your team will submit a one page template filled out completely to describe the outline of your project, with an abstract, a description of your project design or research question, and some of the resources you are using for your project and key questions your project will answer or problems your technology will solve.

The final version of your project will be presented in the format of a poster, to be uploaded for printing on Friday, November 20. Your poster should include these items:

  • A title
  • A clearly defined research question/problem/challenge.
  • A description of the existing solutions and analysis of their pros and cons.
  • A description of the specific tasks (experiments, measurements, etc) to be performed and how long each will take.
  • Background information of what is known about the scientific and technical context, and the technology available for studying the problem.
  • A description of the project using proper scientific language, supporting primary literature, and calculations or quantitative models.
  • A description of how this project, if successful, will impact the field, the world, or the community.
  • A description of the novelty in your approach.
  • An estimate of the cost of the project, and resources needed.
  • An annotated Bibliography section

The posters will be presented as a group of four in our FOS Poster Fair on Tuesday November 24. More details on the poster grading rubric, requirements for full marks for the poster, and the annotated bibliography are below.

Notes and Tips for Full Marks:

Excellent Posters will include the components described in the attached rubric, but also go beyond basic expectations. In general, an excellent project describes an original idea, and goes beyond expectations in the creativity, clarity, and technical and scientific detail. In some cases, prototypes for technologies, and sample quantitative models and data analysis can help strengthen the case for the study, and provide evidence for thorough research within the project.

Annotated bibliographies should include at least two scientific articles from each person, formatted according to Chicago Manual of Style. The bibliography should include a few sentences justifying how the resources compliment/relate to your preparation of the research presentation and poster, and indicate which person contributed the article and its description.

During the poster presentation, each of your team members should give a 1-2 minute presentations, and pause to  allow the reviewer to ask questions. Your entire team needs to participate in the presentation, and you will have 10 minutes to completely describe your poster, including questions, with all team members participating. The poster grading will include a component that grades how well the entire team contributes to the presentation, with good time management.

Peer Evaluation. The total number of points for the poster is 45/45 with  5 points (10%) based on the peer review of team members and their contributions. Each team member will be scored by the others for their contributions and these scores will be used to compute the 5 point peer evaluation score.


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