Grand challenges represent critical societal needs where there exist larger-then-life barriers (and opportunities) without foreseeable solutions in the near future. It is important to undertake grand challenges as part of a forward-looking and innovative Centre in technologically-intensive design. By defining Grand Challenges, the work of the Centre is placed at the forefront of technology, engaged in problems and projects that are important to society, to Singapore, and to Centre personnel, and developing results that have the potential for radical innovation and meaning.

Within the scope of the IDC, three Grand Challenges are currently being pursued:

These Grand Challenges are defined and continually evolved through the GC co-Leads at SUTD and MIT and the community of IDC researchers through regular meetings and the annual Design Summit.