Full Proposal FAQ

1. I'm a student from an eligible campus, but my teammates are not. Are we eligible for the contest?
Yes. Only one team member is required to be a matriculated student from an eligible campus.

2. What if my team wasn't finalized by the time the pre-proposal was due?
We understand that team building is a primary challenge teams face during the pre-proposal round; however, your for the final round your team should be able to demonstrate that it comprises individuals with the necessary skills to implement your project. [PD2] Some teams may seek to hire or recruit additional team members during the 1st year of implementation (between June 2019-June 2020.) In these instances, applicants should list the type of team member they will seek to recruit (skillsets & role on project), when they will be recruited, and strategies for recruiting them.

3. Do references count toward the page limit?
No. Full proposals should be a single PDF document no more than eight pages long, including a budget spreadsheet, but not including references or an appendix. For consistency and fairness purposes, the proposal should be size 12 font, single-spaced, with one-inch margins.

4. Are appendices allowed in the full proposal proposal round?
Yes! Unlike the pre-proposal round, appendices are allowed in the final-round. And do not count towards the page limit.

5. How strict are the section divisions and order of sections? Can I add an additional section or rearrange sections?
You may rearrange the sections as it makes sense for your proposal, and you can add an additional section(s) if you think it will enhance your proposal. That said, it is highly recommended that you include a section (and the appropriate section heading) for each of the components described on the pre-proposal application requirements, as the judging criteria focus on the information provided in each of those sections.

6. Are there any restrictions on what kinds of expenses can be covered with Big Ideas funds? Are there certain expenses, like travel or personnel costs, that I shouldn’t include in my budget document?
There are no restrictions on what expenses can be covered with Big Ideas funds. Past winners have budgeted for personnel costs (e.g., hiring a programmer or marketing consultant), domestic and international travel, marketing costs, building materials costs, and so on. Typically, teams do not include a salary for themselves in their budget. However, note that you should not request more than $10,000 from Big Ideas. If your project requires more than $10,000 in funding, note other funding sources you are pursuing in the Revenue section of the budget (and include in the Notes section whether you’ve applied for this money and not yet received it, have received it, etc.)

7. Typically, how large are Big Ideas awards?
The average award amount is $5,000, but awards can range from $1,000 to $10,000 based on the overall quality of the proposal. Successful proposals typically assume that a Big Ideas award can cover $5,000 of their project expenses. Proposals should not request more than $10,000 from Big Ideas in their budgets.

9. Must I use a particular writing style to format my references?
No. As long as you are consistent, you can format your references any way you choose.

10. Can I include photos or graphs in my final proposal, or must the proposal contain only written information?
Yes! You can include figures in your proposal to help explain your project, but they will count toward the page limit. Any image not created by your team should be properly cited. If you are worried about losing space for writing, you can include more images in an appendix.

11. I am concerned about someone stealing my idea. Are proposals kept confidential?
As in the pre-proposal round, applicants are required to complete a webform with information about their team and a brief description of their project. Applicants will then attach their proposal and budget (preferably as one PDF document). The Big Ideas Contest reserves the right to use the brief description of the project in the webform publicly. However, your attached proposal will be kept confidential. If you are concerned about protecting your idea, do not put any protected information in short (webform) description.

12. If my project receives funding through Big Ideas, how are the award payments handled? Can we have the funds sent to an NGO or local partner?
Big Ideas awards must be disbursed either to a) a registered student (from an eligible campus), b) an ASUC student group account, or c) a campus research account of a faculty advisor. Awards cannot be disbursed to partners, non-profits, or students from non-eligible campuses. The Team Lead (primary applicant) will be the main contact person for all Big Ideas communications and must be a matriculated student at an eligible campus. The Team Lead has final authority in determining prize disbursement options.

13. Who are the full proposal judges? May I contact the judges at any point during the Contest?
The judges are a mix of academia and industry professionals with varied expertise , backgrounds and skillsets.. When writing your pre-proposal, assume that your reader has some general knowledge of the field (e.g., energy efficient technologies or global poverty), but no specialized knowledge in your particular project area. Be sure not to use jargon and explain technical terms. Judges’ identities will remain anonymous throughout the Contest. You will receive written feedback from the judges, but you will not be given access to the names or contact information of the judges. If there is a certain jusdge that you wish to get in touch with based upon their feedback, please contact the Big Ideas staff and we will attempt to facilitate an introduction.