Skip to main content

Dean's Column

Engineering's Grand Opportunities

Frieder Seible, Dean

The world’s marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 50 percent from 2005 to 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And although this is a staggering prediction, the total energy use by humans only amounts to roughly 0.01 percent of the sun’s power striking the Earth. What if engineers could harness solar energy more efficiently and economically? That goal is one of 14 grand challenges for engineering identified this year by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Other grand challenges include the need to engineer better medicines, restore and improve urban infrastructure, and engineer tools of scientific discovery.

All of the grand challenges identified by NAE’s panel of experts are on the Jacobs School’s to-do list. From the investigation of more efficient, experimental solar cells spiked with nanowires to a pioneering discovery of a single molecular mechanism to explain hypertension and other metabolic disorders, our faculty are addressing these critically important areas of engineering research.

Indeed, the campus itself is becoming a living laboratory for many of these solutions, particularly in the area of solar energy. The Jacobs School helped pave the way for incorporating solar into the campus energy plan when we partnered with Kyocera Solar and installed a 12.8 kilowatt solar energy system on the roof of the Powell Structural Research Laboratories. Now as we go to press, more than one megawatt of solar photovoltaic panels is going up across campus and another megawatt is in the planning stages.

Our faculty and students have also installed a network of weather and climate monitors in an effort identify the sunniest rooftops on which to expand the solar-electric system, and to determine just how much sun we can expect on our coastal campus.

As one of the nation’s leading research universities, we can and must do our part to provide the human and intellectual capital required to solve society’s most difficult engineering problems. We have dedicated this issue of Pulse to describing some of our efforts on the NAE grand challenge list, and I invite you to read on and visit our website to learn more about the important work of our faculty and students.

Frieder Seible

Frieder Seible

Dean's Challenge Match

Jacobs School Alumni Fellowships

Supporting tomorrow's technology leaders, one Alumni Fellowship at a time

Jacobs School Alumni Fellowships
Jacobs School Alumni Fellowships
Jacobs School Alumni Fellowships

Graduate students are integral to the research and teaching mission of the Jacobs School, but only 1 in 4 of our students are supported with unrestricted fellowships. Such fellowships enable the Jacobs School to competitively recruit the brightest minds to UC San Diego and give recipients the freedom to explore research interests in that critical first year of study.

How the Dean's Challenge Works

Through December 2008, Dean Frieder Seible will match $1 to every $3 raised from our alumni (the 1:3 match). Every dollar contributed to the Alumni Fellowship challenge directly supports students in the academic department of your choice. These gifts and matching funds will be pooled to create Alumni Fellowships in the amount of $35,000 each, which covers tuition and stipend for a student's first year of study. Through your generosity, Alumni Fellowships raised through this matching challenge program will be awarded to deserving graduate students entering the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering in Fall 2009.

Corporate Match

Many employers provide matching donations which will allow you to leverage your gift even further. (The Deanís Match is made on the total of your gift and your company's match.) Visit to see if your company participates.

Immediate Impact

You'll have the opportunity to personally meet the student who becomes the beneficiary of your gift.

Every dollar counts!

It’s not about the size of the gift, it’s about the participation in the campaign—no gift is too small. You can make your gift online at: or contact Linda Jones at or 858-822-4562.