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Since 2017, Foundation and Research Relations has been at the forefront of the Big Ideas Initiative at UC San Diego, an effort formally launched by Chancellor Khosla in 2019. The CONVERGE initiative was designed to uncover and support the growth of a collaborative of big ideas at UC San Diego that have the potential to solve some of the pressing global issues of our time. Our goal is to drive institutional awareness of the CONVERGE support infrastructure and leverage advancement and research development agendas to engage with faculty PIs pursuing potentially compelling projects. This is a focused campaign to stimulate and support transformative big ideas from our campus community, especially as they align to the strategic priorities of UC San Diego. By serving as the administrative and strategic hub of this initiative, Foundation and Research Relations serves UC San Diego and the foundation community to connect, convene and build partnerships that unveil creative opportunities and unleash critical innovations through the power of philanthropy.



  • Converge Overview presents FRR's thinking and process for supporting innovative faculty projects as you pursue foundation funding.

  • Review the Big Ideas Decision Tree to evaluate your project for private philanthropy funding.

  • Click our funding roadmap below to see an overview of how academic research careers move forward from young investigators to big ideas:



  • For current and past big idea funding opportunities, explore our Big Ideas page.

    If you have a big idea that you would like to explore for private philanthropic funding, please reach out to our office at We offer 1:1 and team consultations to discuss your ideas and assist in creating a strategy to seek private funding.


The FRR team considers big idea discussions, proposal materials, and any other information related to funding applications, including graphics or other elements created by the PI or with FRR, to be confidential. FRR will not share these ideas or materials with others without the permission of the PI, except where direct business need requires (e.g., internal briefings to senior campus leadership).