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 as 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.

Full Proposal Application Requirements

Your full proposal should be a single PDF document no more than 15 pages long, including a budget spreadsheet, but not including references. As in the pre-proposal round, in the full proposal round please focus on how your project will look in its first year of implementation (from March 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.

You may include up to 5 additional pages as appendices, if needed. The proposal must be typed in Times New Roman size 12 font, single-spaced, with one-inch margins. The full proposal must include the sections below, but note that you can change the order or sections if needed:

1. Needs Statement (Approx 3 pages)

Include a detailed description of the problem your project will address that communicates a deep understanding of the relevant research on the problem. In some cases, this section may be a simple revision of the Needs Statement you provided in your pre-proposal application. In other cases, writing this section may involve significantly editing or reworking the content of your pre-proposal Needs Statement based on the feedback provided by the pre-proposal judges and your mentor.

2. Proposal and Impact (Approx 5 pages)

Include a detailed explanation of your proposed project or innovation and its intended impact in its first year of implementation (from March 2014 to June 2015). In the full proposal round, judges expect you to significantly expand on your pre-proposal project summary. In this section, you should indicate that you have fully considered all aspects of the planning and implementation of your project. For example, your proposal should address, if relevant:

  • Ethical, cultural, or legal considerations
  • Marketing goals and strategies
    Similar initiatives or projects that currently exist, the issues that have emerged with those other initiatives or projects, and how specifically your project compares
  • Training and recruitment procedures for personnel or volunteers
  • Expected community buy-in
  • Potential challenges that may arise in working with the identified community or market, and proposed solutions to these challenges
  • The extent to which you have developed community partnerships to aid your in your project plans

3. Impact Evaluation (Approx 1 page)

Discuss how you plan to evaluate the impact of your project. Please explain how you plan to measure you success at achieving your project’s goals. Although you need not have all measurement tools (e.g., survey instruments, interview protocols) developed at this stage, please explain what you plan to measure and how/when you plan to measure it.

4. Detailed Timeline (Approx 1 page)

Please include a detailed timeline (recognizing that awards will not be dispersed until June 2014) indicating major next steps for your project. Like the needs statement, in some cases, project timelines need not be changed significantly. Use the feedback provided by the pre-proposal judges to add to or revise your pre-proposal timeline, if necessary.

5. Team Biographies (Approx 1 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, consider explaining your plans for future leadership.

6. Budget (Approx 2 pages)

Using the budget template provided on the Big Ideas website, please submit a detailed budget, outlining all costs and expected revenue associated with your project from March 2014 to June 2015. Note that the typical 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 calculated your costs.

Download the Budget Template (.xls)


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