Skip to main content

UC San Diego's CONVERGE Initiative: Supporting Big Ideas at UC San Diego

As a billion-dollar research enterprise situated in the heart of one of the most densely concentrated innovation hubs in the nation, UC San Diego is a distinctive place where fresh ideas are translated into solutions to benefit society — from climate science and the human microbiome to nanotechnology and social mobility. Through private funding of BIG IDEAS we endeavor to bring together governments, academia, social entrepreneurs and communities to find solutions to intractable global problems.

If you have a BIG IDEA, please review the funding opportunities below to see how these competitions are designed, reviewed and managed. For more information about the UC San Diego CONVERGE initiative, go to: https://foundationresearchrelations.ucsd.edu/converge/index.html

To explore these opportunities, your ideas or the Converge program, please reach out to our office at FRR@ucsd.edu.

Explore Big Idea Opportunities

LEGO

The Build A World Of Play Challenge is a DKK 900 million challenge (approximately USD 143 million) to fund bold ideas that will help build a world where every child has the chance to play and learn. The Challenge seeks solutions designed to meaningfully impact the well-being and holistic development of young children (birth-to-six) in a sustainable way. It asks the question: what if the needs of the world’s youngest children, their families and their communities were a driving force in everything from the way societies design care and education systems, plan health systems, design cities and infrastructure and tackle the climate crisis?

Up to ten finalists will be selected in September 2022. Each finalist will receive DKK 6.5 million (approximately USD 1 million) to strengthen their proposed plan, start building their team, and scale up to successfully implement their innovation. Selecting from amongst the finalist organizations, the LEGO Foundation will announce up to five awards by the end of 2022. There will be three grants awarded for DKK 200 million (approximately USD 30 million) each and two grants awarded for DKK 100 million (approximately USD 15 million) each.

Explore the call: https://ucsd.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1864803

 

Past Big Idea Opportunities:

spa

The Science Philanthropy Alliance has sent UC San Diego an invitation to submit up to two concept papers around basic science research in either life or physical sciences by their February 21 deadline.  They are interested to hear from individuals or a team of individuals who will conduct bold, imaginative, and relevant basic science research. This application will have two stages, a first-stage concept paper which will be competitively reviewed, after which selected submissions will be invited to submit a second-stage full application for further competitive review in Spring 2022. The multi-year funding is $3-5 million.

 

oceanvisions

A consortia of private philanthropy is partnering with Ocean Visions to release an RFP for a new $10 million funding opportunity around Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement Research.  This award seeks to advance our collective understanding of ocean-based solutions to climate disruption.

 

audaciousproject


The Audacious Project invites visionary social entrepreneurs, nonprofits and individuals to dream bigger than they have ever imagined -- and to shape those dreams into multi-year plans that are viable and sustainable. The project invites donors to pool resources and work together in service of these ambitious ideas. The hope is to create collectively a model of philanthropy that mimics the way in which promising startups are funded, so the projects can be more ambitious, more collaborative and more effective.

Each year, the project will identify up to five ideas that stand out as thrillingly bold and have a credible path to execution, scale and impact. Nominations come from the coalition of partners and an application that is open to the public. All ideas will be fully researched and vetted before being publicly unveiled in a special session at the annual TED Conference in Vancouver.

 

strongerdemocracyaward

ICONIQ Impact and Lever for Change announced the five outstanding finalists for the $22 million Stronger Democracy Award — sponsored by Additional Ventures with additional support from philanthropists Cipora and Vlado Herman and an anonymous donor in the ICONIQ Impact community. The award will help drive structural reforms to improve political representation and increase the participation of all citizens in the United States’ democratic process. From grassroots mobilizing and movement building to bolstering democracy and election infrastructure, these five teams propose meaningful and lasting improvements to our political system. Meet the finalists.

 

xprize


XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity – fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, and extraordinary milestone. This four-year global competition invites innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans, and sequester it durably and sustainably. To win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1000 tons removed per year; model their costs at a scale of 1 million metric tons (tonnes) per year; and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatons per year in future. XPRIZE teams come from all around the world. Teams can be composed of university groups, high school students, startups and innovators, small to midsize companies, community-based organizations, families or individuals. Registering to create or join a team is one of the first steps you can take to help create a better future for all.