Official Rules

Failure to meet these rules will result in disqualification from the contest.

  1. At least one member of each team must be a matriculated student at an eligible campus to enter the contest.  Please visit contest category descriptions to view a list of eligible campuses for each category.
  2. Big Ideas projects must be student initiated and student led.  Faculty, staff, and external partners may only play an advisory role for student teams.
  3. Student teams may submit an application to only one category.  If an application is submitted to more than one category, only the first submission received will be reviewed.  One student may participate in more than one project team so long as each team submits a unique pre-proposal application.
  4. Student teams cannot seek funding from Big Ideas for projects that have previously won a Big Ideas award, unless they are submitting a proposal in the “Scaling Up Big Ideas” category.  Teams that have won a Scaling Up award in the past are not eligible to reapply.

Prizes will only be awarded for high-quality submissions.  Decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal.

Please note that many contest categories have category-specific rules.  Applicants should carefully review the descriptions for the category to which they are applying.

Pre-proposal Application Requirements

Your Pre-proposal should be a single PDF document no more than 5 pages long, including a budget, but not including references.  In your Pre-proposal please focus on how your project will look in its first year of implementation (from June 2014 to June 2015).  Please note that all the application requirements listed below apply for all categories. However, each category also has specific application requirements that you must review. [JE1]

The proposal should be typed in Times New Roman size 12 font, single-spaced, with one-inch margins.  The Pre-proposal should include the following sections:

1. Proposal and Impact (Approx 1 to 2 pages)*

Include a summary of your innovative project (e.g., service, good, or innovation), how it works, and its intended impact. Please focus on how your project will look in its first year of implementation. If you expect to encounter implementation challenges, please briefly explain how you will address those challenges. If you plan to significantly scale up or expand in future years, please note this (but do not focus on your plans to scale up) in this section. Note that judges are instructed to consider, above all else, how innovative and creative your project idea is.

2. Needs Statement (Approx 1 to 2 pages)

In this section, include a description of the social problem or campus need your project will address that communicates your understanding of relevant research/statistics on the problem. If other interventions or products have been designed or implemented to solve this problem, discuss the possible limitations of these solutions.

3. Project Timeline (Approx 1/2 page)

Please include a timeline that highlights key next steps during the first year of your project, recognizing that awards will not be dispersed until June 2014).

4. Team Biographies (Approx 1/2 page)

In this section, include a list of the key project team members with brief biographies that explain the capabilities of your team to accomplish your project.  If your leadership team consists of students who are graduating in May 2014 or December 2014, please explain your plans for future leadership.

5. Preliminary Budget  (Approx 1 page)

Using the budget template provided here,[JE2] please submit a detailed budget, outlining all costs and expected revenue associated with your project from June 2014 to June 2015. Note that the average Big Ideas grant is $5000, and 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 note in the Notes section whether you’ve applied for this money and not yet received it, have received it, etc.)  Also in the notes section of the Expenses sections, please explain in as much detail as possible how you circulated your costs.

Download the Budget Template (.xls)


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