Big Ideas is an innovation ecosystem that provides training, networks, recognition and funding 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.
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Pandemic Recovery & Response
The challenge for this track is to describe an idea that would address pandemic preparedness or recovery. Proposed innovations should respond to the harmful impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic, domestically, or internationally. Proposals may focus on methods for addressing and mitigating impacts associated with future pandemics, and longer-term preparedness more generally. All proposals should a) provide evidence for the negative health, social, or economic impacts to be addressed by the idea b) develop a system, program, or technology that addresses the negative impacts from COVID-19 and/or future pandemics, and c) describe a solution that is culturally appropriate for a local, national or international community.
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 AI Big Ideas Prize challenges teams to demonstrate how AI can improve, accelerate, and/or streamline the solutions to major societal challenges. Solutions may be domestic or international in scope and may focus on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to areas: healthcare, transportation, energy, education, and national security. Each team will be evaluated across three dimensions: real-world impact, scalability, and ethics and safety.
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.