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Ideation Grant

Program Overview

The Innovation Sandbox Ideation Grants are designed to provide students with funds to pursue their innovative, creative, and/or entrepreneurial passions.  These awards are designed to stimulate innovation on campus that is not funded through traditional courses and student clubs. 

While not prescriptive, we give preference to projects that have one or more of the following orientations:

  • Have Broad Impact Beyond the Team

  • High Innovative

  • Team-Based

  • Interdisciplinary

  • Entrepreneurial Activity

  • Comprise team members that volunteer to help support the operations of the Innovation Sandbox

Below is a list of projects that we don’t fund:

  • Projects for a class

  • Projects for a student club

  • Projects for faculty research*

  • Projects whose intent is for one person to make something for themselves

* Projects for faculty research may be considered IF the output is oriented to an entrepreneurial activity or something that aligns with the mission of Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship as opposed to an orientation toward academic discovery. 

To apply for Phase I awards please follow the link provided here.

Program Logistics

Innovation Sandbox Ideation Grants are conducted in two possible phases.  

Phase I

  • Anticipated Project Duration: 0 – 6 months

  • Award Size: Up to $300

  • Anticipated # of Awards: 5-10 per academic year

Phase II

  • Anticipated Project Duration: 0 – 18 months (must be a Cal Poly student for the entire duration of the project)

  • Award Size: Up to $1,500

  • Anticipated # of Awards: 2-3 per academic year

Use of Funds

Allowable Expenses

  • Materials & Supplies for the project

  • Travel (In some cases)

  • Vendor Services

  • Software Licensing Fees

  • Other expenses as approved during the application process

Unallowable Expenses

  • Food & Hospitality

  • Consultants

  • Self-Pay

  • Advertising & Marketing

Application of Funds

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  Review of all applications will take place no less than once per month and may be more frequent based on the discretion of the committee.  The review committee is comprised of active Members, Officers, and the Faculty Director of the Innovation Sandbox. Notification of acceptance or denial of the application will be sent via e-mail to the applicant team lead.  Some applications may be encouraged for revision and resubmission. In some cases, based on the complexity of the project and/or area of expertise of the review committee, the review committee may want to meet with the team before making a final determination on a proposal.  Additional questions regarding this process or application status can be addressed to Camille Garlick at

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