University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator



Big Ideas Generator (BIG) powers bold, early-stage projects at UChicago that have potential to grow into significant research agendas.


The fund’s goal is to identify and support path-breaking ideas that have the potential to become novel and robust areas of research but are too nascent for traditional sources of funding. Winning proposals will demonstrate substantial intellectual merit and novelty of the idea, as well as the potential for entrenching the research program at the University in the future.

Three tiers of grants are available:

Workshop grants to plan for large-scale, inter-disciplinary initiatives - up to $5K

Seed grants for exploratory research work - up to $15K 

Vision grants for research-intensive projects - up to $75K

Winning proposals will also receive strategic research development support for up to two years, targeting follow-up federal funding opportunities. Proposals will undergo a rigorous review process by an internal Faculty Advisory Board review. Funding decisions will be made by the Faculty advisory Board, chaired by Prof. Ka Yee Lee, Vice Provost for Research. The BIG initiative reaffirms the University’s commitment to supporting novel, potentially risky ideas that could have a transformative intellectual impactResearch Development Support

Meet the Team