What's Your Big Idea?

Student-Led Innovation for a Better Planet

Big Ideas is an innovation contest that provides up to $300,000 in funding, training, networks, and recognition to interdisciplinary teams of students who have transformative solutions to real-world problems.

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Social Impact Tracks

Big Ideas encourages students to propose innovative solutions across a broad range of social impact tracks. Based on the scope of the project, teams will indicate a primary track that best fits their project.

This category challenges students to develop solutions to assist those who will be adversely affected and displaced by advancements in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence. To this end, students will be required to think about the issue critically and understand the exact nature of jobs that will be displaced. The matter at hand is to help these workers regain not only their lost income but also their purpose and direction in life.

Learn More About Workforce Development

The challenge for this track is to describe an intervention that would alleviate a global health concern, either domestically or internationally. Proposals submitted to this track should (a) demonstrate evidence of a widespread health concern faced by resource-constrained populations, and (b) develop a system, program, or technology that is culturally appropriate within the target communities and designed for low-resource settings.

The challenge for this track is to encourage the development of innovative solutions or approaches that address complex challenges in food systems and agricultural development. Proposals submitted to this track may focus on areas such as enhancing agricultural production, increasing food security, promoting sustainable farming practices, and/or creating equitable access to nutritious food. Proposals may be aimed at campus-based programs, local/domestic issues, or international efforts.

The challenge for this track is to propose novel products, services, tools or mechanisms that either address unmet needs of the financially underserved, or help extend existing services to populations at the unbanked “last mile.”

The challenge for this track is to encourage the adoption of clean energy and/or resource alternatives that are sustainable and have the potential for broad impact. Proposals may focus on the design, development or delivery of green energy solutions that can be domestic or international in scope. All proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on the environment.

The challenge for this track is to create innovative solutions that address the underlying barriers to quality education and literacy. Proposals may focus on the design, development or delivery of education and literacy solutions that can be domestic or international in scope. All proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on education and literacy.

The challenge for this track is to describe a novel solution to engage and enhance the wellbeing of communities, campuses, and cities. These innovations should stimulate new thinking to address key physical, social, or economic challenges facing geographic locales ranging from university settings to global metropolises. Solutions may focus on a wide range of areas, including but not limited to: improving the living conditions of urban environments, promoting civic engagement, sharing knowledge and information, making transportation options more accessible, and empowering individuals to improve their own well-being.

The challenge for this track is to develop an innovative art project that meaningfully engages with issues of advocacy, justice, and community-building. The initiative may use any art form — visual/ conceptual art, photography, new media, video, dance, theater/performance art, music, creative writing, or other forms. Art must be central to the project, and the proposal must reflect an informed understanding of the particular art form(s) being used, as well as of the communities being served.

 

This category challenges students to develop solutions to assist those who will be adversely affected and displaced by advancements in technology, automation, and artificial intelligence. To this end, students will be required to think about the issue critically and understand the exact nature of jobs that will be displaced. The matter at hand is to help these workers regain not only their lost income but also their purpose and direction in life.

Learn More About Workforce Development

The challenge for this track is to describe an intervention that would alleviate a global health concern, either domestically or internationally. Proposals submitted to this track should (a) demonstrate evidence of a widespread health concern faced by resource-constrained populations, and (b) develop a system, program, or technology that is culturally appropriate within the target communities and designed for low-resource settings.

The challenge for this track is to encourage the development of innovative solutions or approaches that address complex challenges in food systems and agricultural development. Proposals submitted to this track may focus on areas such as enhancing agricultural production, increasing food security, promoting sustainable farming practices, and/or creating equitable access to nutritious food. Proposals may be aimed at campus-based programs, local/domestic issues, or international efforts.

The challenge for this track is to propose novel products, services, tools or mechanisms that either address unmet needs of the financially underserved, or help extend existing services to populations at the unbanked “last mile.”

The challenge for this track is to encourage the adoption of clean energy and/or resource alternatives that are sustainable and have the potential for broad impact. Proposals may focus on the design, development or delivery of green energy solutions that can be domestic or international in scope. All proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on the environment.

The challenge for this track is to create innovative solutions that address the underlying barriers to quality education and literacy. Proposals may focus on the design, development or delivery of education and literacy solutions that can be domestic or international in scope. All proposals should clearly demonstrate the relationship between the proposed intervention and its impact on education and literacy.

The challenge for this track is to describe a novel solution to engage and enhance the wellbeing of communities, campuses, and cities. These innovations should stimulate new thinking to address key physical, social, or economic challenges facing geographic locales ranging from university settings to global metropolises. Solutions may focus on a wide range of areas, including but not limited to: improving the living conditions of urban environments, promoting civic engagement, sharing knowledge and information, making transportation options more accessible, and empowering individuals to improve their own well-being.

The challenge for this track is to develop an innovative art project that meaningfully engages with issues of advocacy, justice, and community-building. The initiative may use any art form — visual/ conceptual art, photography, new media, video, dance, theater/performance art, music, creative writing, or other forms. Art must be central to the project, and the proposal must reflect an informed understanding of the particular art form(s) being used, as well as of the communities being served.

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UC Berkeley
UC Davis
UC Irvine
UC San Francisco
UC Merced
UC Riverside
UC San Diego
Makerere University
UC Santa Cruz
UC Los Angeles
UC Santa Barbara
Hebrew University
Projects are required to possess to following attributes:
1. Student Led
2. Early-Stage
3. Clear Social Impact
Teams are required to produce the following documents:
1. Problem Statement
2. Landscape Analysis
3. Proposed Innovation
4. Team Bios
Teams will be judged on the following criteria:
1. Innovation
2. Social Impact
3. Long Term Viability
4. Proposal Quality

2020 Big Ideas Finalists Announced!

In November 2019, the Big Ideas Contest received a record 438 pre-proposal applications, representing over 1,200 students across 12 campuses. After a preliminary round, 43 teams were advanced to the final round.

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