BIG Problem: Truly novel ideas are risky

University of Chicago Big Ideas

If you have a really intriguing and potentially field-changing idea, we want to help you find support for it. The current funding climate can make it difficult to take risks with untested ideas. Beyond seed funding, growing a project from its exploratory stage into a full research agenda requires long-term assistance. BIG provides comprehensive support and competitive seed funding for risky but promising ideas in basic research.

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BIG Solution: Support for Early-Stage, High-Impact Research


University of Chicago Big Ideas Arete Initiative

Big Ideas Generator (BIG) was created to provide systematic support for ambitious ideas. Our approach is to be both risk-tolerant and strategic, working to scale up the ideas with the biggest intellectual payoff. First, we provide flexible, rapid funding (up to $100K) to support potentially ground-breaking ideas through a competitive, rigorous review process that is overseen by BIG's Faculty Advisory Board. Then, BIG staff assists in developing a long-term growth plan for your project. From funding to collaborations to strategy, BIG assists faculty in exploring innovative research programs.  

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BIG Ideas: Share what's on your mind

More BIG Ideas

~ Latest at BIG ~

Spring 2019 Funding Call

BIG is pleased to announce the Spring 2019 funding call! We welcome early-stage, ambitious research proposals in any field of scholarly inquiry at the University of Chicago.

Fall 2016 Workshops Funding Call

11 / 07   5:00 PM

This fall, BIG is offering funding for exploratory workshops

BIG is a Top 100 Finalist for the 2016 Innovation Awards!

10 / 06  12:00 AM

Vote for BIG in the 2016 Innovation Awards!

BIG in the news!

BIG is the Fall Issue of Medicine on the Midway

BIG is Funding Researchers' Moonshot Projects

11 / 16  12:00 AM

ChicagoInno talks to BIG about our experiment in early-stage science funding

BIG Fall Funding

11 / 16   5:00 PM

This fall, BIG will be offering three exciting funding opportunities!

BIG is a 50 on Fire Finalist!

Vote for the BIG Ideas Generator!

Voting for the 2015 People's Choice Award is now live  - click here and find us on page 10 under "Entrepreneurship"! As a Top 100 Finalist, BIG is in the running and eligible to receive this award, which is determined by popular vote. Voting ends on Friday, October 9th.

BIG Winners Announced: Winter 2015

The Big Ideas Generator (BIG) announces a new cohort of Seed and Vision winners!

BIG and Arete make front page news

BIG and Arete have made the front page at UChicago News!