The Global Challenge was founded by Craig Deluca in 2005, working in close partnership with Domenico Grasso, Dean of the University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

A pilot year from October 2005 to May 2006 resulted in two winning teams being judged and selected for $20,000 in scholarships. Two students from India, two from China and four from the United States won acclaim for their solutions to global warming.

A National Science Foundation award in July 2006, from the "Information Technology Experiences for Students (ITEST)" program validated the project's design as one of the top proposals for engaging youth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning.

By mid-summer, professors from UVM began joining the GC staff in developing ideas for student teams to experience the excitement of engineering design while working on significant human and societal issues - bringing science to life in innovative new applications.

An overarching model and source of inspiration for the learning experiences we want for all students comes from The George Lucas Foundation's Big ideas For Better Schools.