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WSU in Search of Graduate Student Who Can Change the World

Posted by struscott | February 22, 2011

Washington State University is asking its Ph.D. students if one of them has enough gumption to believe they can improve the lives of at least a million people.

The student with the best idea will win a $30,000 scholarship to Singularity University (SU), a Silicon Valley institution aimed at fostering earth-shattering technologies. Just as important, the winning WSU student will serve as the representative for the entire United States in this international contest, with the ultimate winners taking part in an inventive 10-week graduate studies program.
Salim Ismail, Singularity University’s executive director says the work carries a sense of urgency.
“If you look at the spread of pandemics, the financial crisis, or aspects of climate change – these global challenges are rooted in accelerated factors, in exponential factors,” said Ismail. “Our aim is to find the next generation of young leadership and arm them with this awareness and how harness technology to get to these levels.”
WSU has a pool of about 2,000 Ph.D. students to draw from. WSU’s Vice President of Research Howard Grimes helped convince Singularity University the US representative should come from WSU because of the broad field of expertise available.
“We have critical thinkers at WSU from important areas in fields of business, engineering, the humanities, agriculture, molecular biology, veterinary medicine and other sciences,” said Grimes. “From our research strengths in everything from safe food, to agriculture, to smart grid technology, I am convinced one of our world class students will bring forth that one idea that can change the world.”
Ph.D. students from all of WSU’s campuses and research stations are encouraged to apply, with applications due March 21.
Singularity University launched two years ago, the brainchild of inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis, a pioneer of personal spaceflight and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation.
Salim Ismail sums up the goal of the project in this short video:
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