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Social Innovation Fund Application


Social Innovation Fund Criteria

What is the social innovation fund?

The Social Innovation Fund is a partnership between the Offices of Research Affairs, Student Life, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and the Council of Provosts to promote, guide, and support student-driven ideas that address specific challenges in the local or national community and abroad. Funding is available for individual and group commitments that combine theoretical understanding, applied skills, and experiential learning as agents of change. Commitments are eligible for funding up to $3500.

What types of projects will receive funding?

Successful projects will develop scalable, sustainable, capacity-building solutions addressing local, national and global issues in the areas of education, environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and human rights, and public health.

Funding will be based on the following criteria:

  • Social impact
  • Financial viability/sustainability
  • Creativity/novelty of idea
  • Potential efficacy/effectiveness of solution/business
  • Measurable outcome/local, national, global impact
  • Mentorship

Are there any restrictions on what funding can be used towards?

Funding will be provided to commitments meeting the criteria to assist in attaining commitment goals and providing a tangible, measurable outcome. The decision on the specific funding will be made by the Social Innovation Funding Committee. The Student Life Business Office (SLBO) will process payments and reimbursements based on awarded funding. Below is a list to help provide guidance.

For events/projects, students are permitted to use University funding for the following purposes:

  • Transportation from a 3rd party service or vendor (e.g., airline, train, bus, hired shuttle driver). No personal vehicles or rental cars.
  • Hotel lodging
  • Registration fees for conferences, tournaments, competitions or similar activities that are being coordinated by associations, educational institutions, or other 3rd party organizations.
  • Project materials
  • Printing


  • Alcohol or controlled substances
  • Stamps and postage
  • Parking permits and reserved spaces
  • Payment of fines, violations, or late fees
  • Flammable items
  • Food/Catering
  • Purchase or rental of firearms
  • Raffle tickets and prizes
  • Association/membership fees
  • Gifts and giveaways
  • Services or labor provided by any UCSD student
  • Prizes and other items perceived as items for student's personal gain/use
  • Apparel
  • Scholarships or direct monetary donations
  • Items deemed hazardous by UCSD Risk Management
  • Gas reimbursements/rental vehicles driven by students
  • Third party legal and financial services
  • Website hosting
  • Speaker, interpreters, teachers or performer contracts
  • Any non-listed item that violates university policy

Who is eligible to participate?

Both undergraduate and graduate students participating in individual and group commitments are eligible to apply. Funding is not eligible for use towards individual dissertation research.

How will the funding be awarded?

The Student Life Business Office (SLBO) will be able to make direct purchases for many approved expenses or provide reimbursement for pre-approved expenses after submission of original receipts along with a complete Payment Request Form to SLBO. Reimbursement checks are mailed in approximately 14 days from submission of accurately completed paperwork. Funds will be available for use for 18 months at which time any amount not used to help fulfill your commitment will be pulled back and reallocated to other commitments. Commitments are eligible for funding up to $3500.

What is the timeline?

Applications will be available in Fall Quarter, with the deadline to be announced.

What is required for the quarterly reports?

Awardees will be required to submit quarterly progress reports with updated information on the following:
  • Supply marketing pieces including one video and two photos of progress on your commitment
  • Timeline of activities
  • Major accomplishments
  • Contributions made to partners/community
  • Events/activities

Am I allowed to apply for funding if I have already received funding from another source?

Yes, we encourage students to apply for funding from multiple campus resources to further leverage Social Innovation Funds towards completing commitments. In addition, we encourage commitments to look for partnerships on campus and in the community.

Am I required to have a mentor to receive funding?

While students are not required to have mentors to be eligible for funding, it is strongly advised to obtain a mentor since we have found that commitments with mentors experience more success than those without. Mentors provide student commitments with invaluable advice, support, and guidance that bolster student efforts, leading to more successful commitments. Potential mentors are not limited to campus faculty/researchers/staff, but can also include local industry leaders, non-profit executives and other members of the local community. Social Innovation Fund staff will provide assistance to any students who are interested in, but having trouble securing a mentor.

Please contact Emily Loui for technical issues.

Start Application Process