How To Apply

To apply, click on the “Apply Now!” button on the left side of this page. You will be redirected to our application portal where 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 Does Big Ideas Work?

The contest has two rounds: a pre-proposal round in the fall and a full proposal round in the spring.

Round 1: Pre-proposal (First Round)

Eligible students are invited to submit a 3-page, 1,600-word pre-proposal by November 20, 2019, at 12pm (PT) via the website. Approximately 30-40 teams will be selected to continue to the final 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 invited to participate in the final round. All applicants will be notified of their status in December.

Round 2: Full Proposal (Final Round)

Teams selected for the final round will submit a short application video (between 60 and 90 seconds) in addition to an 8-page written proposal by March 13, 2020 at 12pm (PT). In this round, teams will expand on the design of their social innovations and incorporate the judges’ feedback. Additionally, to help further these proposals, teams are paired with a Big Ideas mentor (an experienced professional matched to the team based on expertise and background). Approximately 25-30 teams will be selected to receive awards ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Prizes will be awarded only for high-quality submissions. Decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

Grand Prize Pitch Day & Awards Celebration

On April 30, 2020, the Big Ideas community will gather for its annual Grand Prize Pitch & Awards Celebration to recognize the most outstanding innovations in the 2019-2020 contest. A select group of finalist teams (6-8) will be invited to participate in the Grand Prize Pitch event for the opportunity to win up to an additional $10,000 for their project. Following the pitches, there will be a poster and demo session featuring all of the projects and innovators from the 2019-2020 Big Ideas Contest.