Team Projects

one billion people, ten years, positive change = 109+

The Team Project for SU’s Graduate Studies Program is the centerpiece of the curriculum where students are given a challenging, interdisciplinary, and real world problem that exemplifies one of humanity’s grand challenges. Team Projects are called 109+ (ten to the ninth, plus), meaning that students will be asked how they can impact 1 Billion people, worldwide, in a positive way, within 10-years time leveraging accelerating technologies.

At the end of the 10 week summer session, students will present their results before a panel of individuals composed of representatives from private and public industries. They will also launch a website and other deliverables to serve as a launchpad for practical solutions and continued international dialogue related to various aspects of the problem.


Many of the world’s critical problems have a common root in ignorance, and educational technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity to reach billions of people, and build a future characterized by informed dialog, foresight, andsystems that work. How can technology be used to provide personalized education to the world’s developing areas?


Our civilization fundamentally depends on energy, and we need to make a rapid transition from low-efficiency systems and high dependence on fossil fuels, to high efficiency systems and cost- effective renewable fuels. How can exponential technologies be used to provide humanity with low-cost and abundant energy to meet their needs for prosperity?


In a world plagued by wars, terrorism, and crime, nations seek many different kinds of security for their citizens, as well as freedom from fear and corruption. How can exponential technology be used to address and improve global security issues?

Global Health

There are large and growing discontinuities between current knowledge of public health and medicine and its effective application around the world – millions suffer and die from preventable diseases, and the entire world remains at risk of pandemics. How can technology be used to provide billions with low-cost, ubiquitous healthcare, and help to identifyand prevent pandemics?


Living standards have increased significantly in the past two centuries, but more than 20% of the world today lives in extreme poverty – unable to access resources that address their problems. How can exponential technologies be leveraged to create new jobs and wealth to alleviate poverty?

Sustainable Water

The crisis in water and sanitation is one of the greatest human development challenges according to the UN and NAE. More people die from the lack of clean water than war. At the same time, water needs of agriculture and industry are 20 times larger than personal water usage. What are the holistic alternatives to capital-intensive infrastructures which will address our needs for clean water?


In the next decades, the amount of products that humans use and discard will grow exponentially. In order for us to make significant reductions in CO2 emissions and environmental contamination, we have to rethink how we make and use things. How do we re-purpose, re-process, or re-manufacture waste into new, useful products? What is a systematic approach to product design to ensure that landfills aren’t needed in the first place?

Food for the Cities

By the year 2050, population is expected to grow by another 3 billion and nearly 80% of the total population will reside in urban centers. In order to feed the increase in population, an estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food if traditional farming continues as it is practiced today. How can technologies be leveraged to increase the efficiency of large- scale food production without sacrificing our delicate ecosystems?


The grand challenge of space includes abundant energy and material resources, a planetary- scale network of sensorsand systems measuring global conditions, and a vast, open frontier for exploration – but humans haven’t yet built industrial- strength solutions to realize these opportunities rapidly and cost effectively. How can the vast and abundant energy and material resources of space be used to address many of humanity’s grand challenges?