Motivation & Purpose
The SFPE Foundation's investments and activities are guided by the knowledge gaps in fire safety science and engineering identified in the SFPE Research Roadmap. The challenge with the current edition of the Research Roadmap is that it does not provide a comprehensive strategy or timeline for which topics, data, tools, or models to prioritize to ensure maximum impact. We know there are many areas where our profession can make a difference, but we need to coordinate our efforts to collectively ensure that fire safety scientists and engineers are at the table and prepared to contribute whenever and wherever we can.

With the Grand Challenges Initiative, our approach is to begin with topics that are not unique to fire engineering, but instead represent pressing global challenges where fire safety science and engineering can contribute to ongoing discussions that affect the daily lives of billions. We conducted interviews and small group discussions, and we polled the SFPE community, fire experts, and other stakeholders from around the world to decide on our four focus areas for the GCI:

1. Energy & Infrastructure
2. Resilience & Sustainability
3. Climate Change
4. Digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, & Cybersecurity

Each of these topics corresponded to a half-day session at the virtual “Grand Challenges Summit” which took place on April 26 – 28, 2022.

Current Activities
In the year following the 2022 Summit, the four working groups met approximately monthly to discuss their topics and develop action items and a 10 year timeline. The results of the discussions and planning are now available in the form of white papers. The Working Groups also presented their findings at the 2023 GCI Virtual Summit. The public comment period is closed and we are collating the comments.

Grand challenges call for grand solutions. Join us in creating them. 

Become a GCI Founding Partner
The SFPE Foundation seeks industry, academic, government, non-profit, and other partners to invest in this multi-year research and educational collaboration to develop a strategy for action. Together, we will leverage the collective expertise of our networks to identify how fire safety science and engineering can contribute to addressing pressing challenges in globally salient areas. This “Grand Challenges Initiative” will begin with a year of events, workshops, working group development, and white paper production. GCI Founding Partners will be engaged throughout the process, including in a series of collaboration workshops and matchmaking sessions (scheduled for 2023-2024) designed to implement the strategy developed in the white papers on each topic.

For more information on the SFPE Foundation Grand Challenges Initiative, including how to become a GCI Founding Partner, please review the Grand Challenges Initiative Concept Document.

Our GCI Founding Partners


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Academic & Research Partners

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