Who Can Participate in Big Ideas?

Applicants with innovative “BIG” ideas, who meet all of the eligibility criteria listed below, are encouraged to apply.

  1. Student-Led: Projects must be initiated and led by an undergraduate or graduate student (or students) from an eligible campus. The project should not be an extension of faculty-guided research or led by a non-student established organization (i.e. non-profit or for-profit entity).
  2. Early-Stage: Big Ideas supports early-stage projects. These can range from brand new ideas with a team just assembling, to projects that have formed recently (within 2 years).
  3. Social Impact: Projects must have a clear social impact. The project should be centered around an innovation (technologies, services, programs) that produces a clear benefit with the potential for sustained improvement in the lives of groups or individuals.

Which Universities Are Eligible to Participate?

  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Los Angeles
  • UC Merced
  • UC Riverside
  • UC San Diego
  • UC San Francisco
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Makerere University (Uganda)

Additional Information

  1. Applicants may submit more than one application, but each submission must be unique. A student may participate in more than one project team, as long as each team submits a unique pre-proposal application.
  2. Projects that have previously won a Big Ideas award are not eligible to submit a pre-proposal application. Big Ideas alumni will be notified about a separate competition for previous Big Ideas winners, entitled “Scaling Up Big Ideas,” which is planned for Spring 2020.
  3. The Team Lead (primary applicant) must be a matriculated student at an eligible university and will be the primary point of contact for all contest communications and have final authority for all decisions related to the contest. Additional team members may include students (from eligible or non-eligible universities) and/or non-students. Faculty, staff, and external partners may play an advisory role.