Each year select finalist teams are invited to attend the Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day in May, where teams pitch their project ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. Judges then select Pitch Day winners to receive an additional award, ranging from $1,000 for third place, $3,000 for second place, to $5,000 for first place in each of the two categories: Campus and Community Impact – and – Global Impact. It continues to be one of our most exciting events!

2015 Grand Prize Pitch Winning Teams Included:

1st Place: BCAPI (UC Berkeley):

BCAPI is developing a powerful software and hardware package that will enable technology developers and researchers to create a range of Brain Computer Interfacing (BCI) technologies to assist people with physical disabilities who lack control of their bodies but still control their minds.

2nd Place: Bahay Kubo – Gardens of Living Tradition (UC Berkeley):

Bahay Kubo (“Little House”) revitalizes Filipino food and culture to promote health through the creation of a culturally-based garden and culinary arts program. Bahay Kubo’s purpose is to lift up sustainable, healthy Filipino food practices that can ignite a culture shift toward good health. 

3rd Place: Responsive City Lights: Urban Streets as Public Spaces (UC Berkeley):

Responsive City Lights uses interactive light installations to enhance the perception of streets as engaging public spaces. The project reduces crime by increasing foot traffic and pedestrian interaction, bringing the Internet of Things into urban spaces to help fulfill a vital social need. 

1st Place: Clean Water for Crops: As Simple as Sand and Seeds (UC Davis):

This project will construct and operate a pilot-scale, slow seed-sand filtration system at UC Davis to assess the feasibility of a drinking water treatment technology, prior to building a pilot-scale system in Sololá, Guatemala in order to adjust the system to local conditions. 

2nd Place: Creating Decodable Readers in Haitian Creole (College of William & Mary):

This project employs local teachers to create and teach reading materials that integrate Haiti’s mother-tongue and native culture. At its core, it is a software application that enables writers to create books for beginning readers using a systematic phonics approach. 

3rd Place: Amplify Impact (UC Berkeley):

Amplify Impact raises global awareness about social innovation in the Middle East by providing an online platform for nonprofits and socially minded for-profits to produce and distribute story-driven, low-cost videos. The team envisions a world where initiatives that are catalyzing opportunity, hope, and positive change receive the attention they deserve.