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Social Innovation: Funding

Find social innovation funding resources.

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Social Innovation Fund

Due in March

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.

Triton Innovation Network Challenge (TriNet)

Triton Innovation Network Challenge (TriNet) is a collaborative network between Scripps Oceanography, the von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism at the Jacobs School of Engineering, and the Rady School of Management. Founded in 2011, the TriNet Challenge spotlights commercially promising, environmentally-focused technologies generated by UC San Diego’s finest minds.

Students, faculty, and staff finalists from the three schools pitch their compelling, innovative ideas to a panel of expert judges in an attempt to win $11,000 in cash prizes.

UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge

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

The Entrepreneur Challenge is a UCSD student organization that promotes the commercialization of the incredible research and innovation that occurs at UC San Diego.

The mission of the Entrepreneur Challenge is to foster community involvement and technological innovation by bringing multidisciplinary teams of engineers, scientists, and business-minded students together with local-area entrepreneurs and professionals so they can shape the world of tomorrow by securing the health of San Diego’s economy today.

CalIT2-Qualcomm Institute

CalIT2-Qualcomm Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Scholarsa 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.  Click here for upcoming SVCs.

Triton Technology Fund

Triton Technology Fund will invest in UC San Diego affiliated innovations in the software, communications, electronics, materials, medical devices and instruments sectors. The Fund is externally managed by seasoned venture capitalist, UC San Diego alumnus, and managing director at Sierra Ventures: David Schwab. The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at UC San Diego will provide business and commercialization mentoring to support innovators interested in working with the Triton Technology Fund.

von Leibig Entrepreneurism Center

The von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering mentors faculty and student inventors through the proof-of-concept process. The Center provides commercialization support to bridge the gap between exciting laboratory discoveries and products that address market needs.

University of San Diego (USD) Social Innovation Challenge

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

The USD 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.

J.M.K. Innovation Prize

Due around April each year

The J.M.K. Innovation Prize will be awarded to projects or ideas that: represent a game-changing answer to a clearly identified need; demonstrate an interdisciplinary or hybridized approach, ideally involving at least two of the four areas of interest to the Fund; demonstrate the potential to develop an actionable pilot or prototype with Prize funding; show scalable impact or impact beyond the initial pilot or prototype; and hold out the promise to benefit multiple individuals, communities or sectors through a clearly articulated theory of change.

Awardees are eligible to receive $50,000 per year for three years, as well as a $25,000 "bank" of funds available for technical assistance or targeted project expenses. Accordingly, the total prize award amount will total up to $175,000 per prize recipient over the three year period. These funds are intended to allow recipients to focus their attention on their social impact idea. www.jmkfund.org

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.

Founder.org 8D

Late applications accepted around April each year

Founder.org 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.

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