Big Ideas Deadline is Coming Up!

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Three-page pre-proposals due on November 15 (12pm PT)!

Big Ideas is an early-stage, innovation contest that provides funding, support, and recognition to student teams who develop novel solutions to pressing social challenges. Teams selected for the final round will have access to skill-development workshops, advising sessions and industry mentors in order to refine their pre-proposals into 10 page “full proposals,” due in March 2018. (Learn More and Apply Here)

This year’s Contest is open to all graduate and undergraduate students across all 10 campuses of the University of California system and features 8 categories:

Catalyzing Innovations and Innovators

To date, Big Ideas has awarded $2.1 million in prizes across nearly 500 student teams who have leveraged this seed funding — along with networks and additional resources provided through the Contest — to collectively secure over $300 million in additional funding from investor networks. Big Ideas alumni have also gone on to secure placements in leading accelerator programs such as The House, SkyDeck, CITRIS Foundry, Y-Combinator, Better Ventures among others.

Tabla the Grand Prize winner of  last year’s  Big Ideas Contest was recently selected as one of fourteen winners to receive Fast Company’s 2017 Innovation by Design Awards from 2,500 submissions worldwide. “The mentorship and feedback from Big Ideas during Tabla’s early stage development pushed us to consider different stakeholders for the device which influenced our design decisions,” says Team Lead Adam Rao.

Big Ideas is made possible by the generous support of the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Family Foundation and brings together entities including the Blum Center for Developing EconomiesUnited States Agency for International DevelopmentAutodesk FoundationCenter for Information Technology Research in the Interest of SocietyUniversity of California Office of the Presidentthe Associated Students of the University of California— as well as over 350 judges and mentors annually.

For more information about rules, categories, resources, funding, and contact information, please visit the Big Ideas website at, sign up for an advising appointment, or contact us by email.