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Problem-Solving Students at UC San Diego: Win Big Money for Your Invention


Do you have an idea for a better mousetrap, or an app that will change the internet? Student inventors and problem solvers at UC San Diego are invited to apply for a chance to win up to $2,000 to use for building their inventions, mentoring, and resources.

The cash prize for the first round is up to $2,000. Winners who go on to the next round can get up to $3,000 in additional funding.

The competition attracts dozens of student teams from every area of campus, from the arts and humanities to engineering and healthcare, from STEM to the social sciences.

Sponsored by the Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) and The Basement, a collaborative space for student innovators, the competition asks teams of undergraduates to develop product concepts and submit those ideas to a panel of experts in business creation, product development, and venture capital.

“Participants get a real boost from this competition,” said Gloria Negrete, Director of Basement Relations & Advancement with the Office of Alumni and Community Engagement. “Teams develop amazing concepts, and receive the benefit of expert evaluations.”

“In the first round of competition [in which 10 teams won funding] we’ve seen the kind of imaginative problem-solving ideas we’ve come to expect from every part of the UC San Diego community,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation Paul Roben. “We look forward to the next round of ideas.”

How to Apply

Submit a 3- to 5-minute (max) video proposal and a preliminary spending budget for use of the $2,000 to build your invention. The quality of video production is not a criterion—feel free to use your phone or OneButton studio in Price Center.

Your video proposal should answer the following questions:

  • What’s your idea or product?
  • What problem will your idea solve?
  • Who will benefit from your solution?
  • Identify any similar products on the market, and explain how yours is better.
  • How will you use the funds if awarded?
  • Who are you? (brief bio of you and your team, if team application);

Submit video proposals and preliminary budgets by December 2 in order to be considered for selection. Application HERE

Along with your Video Application, please submit a Preliminary Spending Budget for use of the $2,000 prize if awarded in order to prove your concept.

Competition Tracks:

  • Social Innovation Projects (projects that may have a social impact)
  • Innovative Projects (general track for all other innovative projects)

Proposal Evaluation:

Video proposals will be evaluated on level of innovation, commercial potential, competitive advantage and potential for making an impact.

Proposal Criteria:

  • Applicants must be current UC San Diego undergraduate students.
  • All current undergraduate students, ideas, disciplines, and majors welcomed!
  • Both single-member proposal applications and team (1-4 member) proposals will be accepted.

Winning teams get help with proving their concept and could secure a slot at The Basement’s demo day event, Triton Entrepreneur Night on April 27th, 2017.


Need a place to film your video proposal? Visit The Basement, Mon.-Fri. 1-5PM during open access hours.*Please note: There could be other activities, meetings or gatherings in progress during your visit. More resources available at:

The Basement at UC San Diego
Office of Innovation and Commercialization at UC San Diego.

Media Contact

Paul K. Mueller, 858-534-8564, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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