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Social Innovation Funding Resources

Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund is a partnership between UCSD's Office of Research Affairs, Office of Student Life, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Council of Provosts to promote, guide, and support student-driven ideas that address specific challenges in the local or national community and abroad.

Funding is available for individual and group commitments that combine theoretical understanding, applied skills, and experiential learning as agents of change. Commitments are eligible for funding up to $3,500.

Application Available Here

UC San Diego IGNITE Conference

Open to all students at UC San Diego - around March each year

Ignite is UC San Diego’s flagship innovation conference for risk-takers, rule-breakers, and changemakers. The annual event connects campus and community for two days of jam-packed networking and entrepreneurial learning.

Registration for Ignite is open to students, alumni, faculty, and staff from UC San Diego and regional universities; entrepreneurs; investors; and all members of the community. Whether you’re looking to build your team, join a new team, or simply make connections, come explore San Diego’s entrepreneurial culture.

CalIT2-Qualcomm Institute

CalIT2-Qualcomm Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars, a non-academic research unit at UC San Diego, has researchers from different disciplines come together to study and develop new technologies to address needs and issues in our economy and society.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars Program provides college students with the opportunity to perform hands-on research under the guidance of a UCSD faculty advisor over a 10-week period. Approximately 30 scholarships, each carrying a stipend of $3,000, are awarded for 10 weeks of full-time summer research in labs across the UCSD campus.

The Basement

Open to all students at UC San Diego – deadlines vary

The Basement’s student-centric mission is to stimulate, encourage and serve the entrepreneurial spirit of UC San Diego students by providing a co-work and incubation space. The Basement is a space where student entrepreneurs can gather and be nurtured, and with alumni support and visionary leadership, they can grow companies and social innovation ventures that become the fabric of our community, creating jobs and inspiring a culture of ingenuity and impact. The space will provide students with mentors, guidance, and funding to bring innovative ideas to life and further stimulate, encourage, and serve the entrepreneurial spirit of UC San Diego students.

Green Initiative Fund

Due around February each year

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC San Diego's negative impact on the environment and make UC San Diego more socially and environmentally sustainable. The fund's goal is to enable and empower students to take an active role in making UC San Diego a leader in sustainability by bringing solutions and ideas to as much of the UCSD community as possible.

Resolution Social Venture Challenge

The Resolution Social Venture Challenge (SVC) is a multi-step competition designed to inspire undergraduate students to propose impactful, socially-responsible projects (Ventures) addressing pressing social issues around the world. We host our SVCs in partnership with the universities and youth conferences that attract talented and idealistic young leaders. We invite those young leaders to submit their ideas and participate in a collaborative, multi-stage process that helps them fine-tune their proposals in preparation for a live final round presentation in front a panel of expert judges. View upcoming SVCs.

University of San Diego (USD) Global Social Innovation Challenge

Open to all students at UC San Diego - around February each year

The USD Global Social Innovation Challenge promotes, guides, and supports student-driven ideas to launch a social innovation or contribute to an existing social enterprise, locally or abroad.

The external "San Diego Track" is available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UC San Diego.

Enter your idea at any stage of innovation: define, design, pilot, or scale. Enter with a team, or make a profile to recruit or join other teams on campus.

Big Ideas @ Berkeley

Open to all UC undergraduate and graduate students - November

Big Ideas is an annual innovation contest that provides funding, funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of UC undergraduate and graduate students who have "big ideas."

Generous U

Generous U is a national contest to increase awareness and involvement of students on college campuses about the importance and impact of philanthropy and philanthropic values. Student groups are invited to compete for the $10,000 Sillerman Prize and the Generous U title. The competition is judged based on the cover letters and YouTube videos submitted by undergraduate and graduate students eligible to receive the prize through their college or university.

Established in 2009 as an annual contest, Generous U recognizes college and university students who encourage philanthropy and philanthropic values on their campus.

Grand Challenges to Global Health

Grand Challenges Explorations fosters innovation in global health research. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $100 million to encourage scientists worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas to fight our greatest health challenges.

Westly Prize

Each year the Westly Foundation award $20,000 prizes to young innovators in California with solutions to community problems. Whether you’re an entrepreneur working out of a garage or intrapreneur in a big organization, take a few minutes and share your innovative solution with us.

The Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems. This Challenge helps some of the world's leading social entrepreneurs raise funds to support their work. 8D

Late applications accepted around April each year 8D Company Building Program is designed for student entrepreneurs solving big problems and creating innovative companies with the potential to change the world. 8D was created by serial Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who have built innovative billion dollar companies. Now we’re working to help you fast tack your idea and create the foundation you need for hyper growth.