How To Apply

To apply, click on the appropriate category tab on the left side of this page. Certain categories have different requirement, so make sure to carefully read all of the information provided on these pages. When you are ready to submit your application click on the “Apply Now” button atop the category webpage (available in late September). You will be asked to complete a webform, take a brief survey, upload your proposal. Please allow at least 20 minutes for the entire process.

Once you have submitted your proposal, make sure you are redirected to a webpage acknowledging your proposal has been submitted. You should also receive a confirmation via email. If you do not receive confirmation, or have any problems please contact us at 510.666.9120.

How Big Ideas Works

The Big Ideas contest is split into two rounds: a pre-proposal round in the fall and a full proposal round in the spring.

Round 1: Pre-proposal

Eligible students are invited to submit a single PDF document no more than 3 pages (approx. 1,600 words) by Wednesday, November 14, 2018 12:00pm noon PT. Please note that applications submitted to the Scaling Up and Hardware For Good categories have a separate set of rules and additional requirements. Teams applying to those categories must thoroughly review content on those category pages prior to applying. Failure to follow these instructions may result in disqualification. References and citations are permitted in the pre-proposal round and are not included in the 3-page pre-proposal limit. Appendices are not allowed in the pre-proposal round, but will be permitted in the final round if your team is selected to participate.

Judges will select approximately 5 to 8 teams in each category to continue on to the full proposal round of the Contest in the spring. All pre-proposal teams will receive detailed feedback from the judges, regardless of whether or not they are selected as finalists. Pre-proposal entrants will be notified the mid-December 2018 if they have been selected as a finalist.

Round 2: Full Proposal

Finalist teams will have the opportunity to develop and refine their pre-proposals into 8 page (max) “full proposals” due on March 6, 2019 at 12:00pm noon PT. In this full proposal, finalists will expand on the ideas presented in their pre-proposals, edit their proposals based on judges’ feedback, and refine their project ideas through collaboration with a Big Ideas mentor (an industry professional matched to the finalist team based on the mentor’s content knowledge and areas of strength). From the finalist pool, judges will select between two and five award winners in each category.