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Social Innovation & Global Health Conferences

Social Innovation Opportunities

Make your own positive impact on the world!

  • Would you like to help develop a Social Innovation idea?
  • Do you have an idea to put into action?
  • Would you like to enter your idea in a Social Innovation Challenge to receive funding?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, see the Current Students Social Innovation Resource Page for more information about how to get involved with social innovation projects and programs and finding networking and funding resources available at UC San Diego and beyond.


Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU)

Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) is a gathering of nearly 1,200 students, youth organizations, and topic experts that come together to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Students make a "Commitment to Action," a concrete plan that addresses a pressing challenge in one of CGI U’s five focus areas.

CGI U seeks students with new and innovative project ideas, and detailed, specific plans of action that produce measurable results.

UC San Diego is part of the Clinton Global Initiative University Network, a consortium of colleges and universities that support, mentor, and provide $10,000 in seed funding to leading student innovators and entrepreneurs on their respective campuses. Ryan Crawford, a staff member in the Center for Student Involvement's Community Service area, is UC San Diego’s Liaison for the CGIU Network. E-mail Ryan Crawford at to learn more.

Social Innovation Fund

The Social Innovation Fund is a partnership between UCSD's Office of Research Affairs, Office of Student Life, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and 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 $3,500.

More funding resources can be found here. 

Grand Challenges

Grand Challenges fosters innovation in global health research.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $100 million to encourage scientists worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas to fight our greatest health challenges.

Big Ideas @ Berkeley

Big Ideas @ Berkeley is an annual innovation contest that provides funding, funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of UC undergraduate and graduate students who have "big ideas".

The challenge for the Global Health category is to describe an action-oriented, inter-disciplinary project that would help alleviate a global health concern among low-resource communities. Proposals submitted to this category should:

  1. Demonstrate an evidence of a widespread health concern faced by low-income populations or low-resource communities, and;
  2. Develop a system, plan, or technology that addresses this problem that is both culturally appropriate within the target communities, and appropriate for low-resource settings.

Examples of proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • A medical innovation project that promotes effective diagnosis or treatment of a specific physical or mental illness.
  • A public health containment effort or surveillance technique to address infectious disease epidemics.
  • A public health prevention project that raises awareness about how to reduce the risk of contracting illness among at-risk populations.
  • An economic, public policy or advocacy-based initiative that aims to reduce barriers to accessing effective health services in underserved communities.
Big Ideas @ Berkeley spans the course of an entire academic year and includes the following milestones:
  • August: Contest Begins
  • August to October: Information Sessions, Workshops, Networking Events
  • November: Pre-proposal Deadline (5 pages)
  • December: Finalists Announced
  • January to March: Mentorship Period
  • Mid-March: Full Proposal Deadline (15 pages)
  • April: Winners Announced

The Basement, UC San Diego Innovation

The Basement provides creative innovation space, mentorship, entrepreneurship programming and resources in support of UC San Diego's innovation, entrepreneurial and change maker focus.

In the spirit of UC San Diego's entrepreneurial DNA, The Basement brings together students, and alumni, ideas and inspiration, earnest ambition, and real-world experience.

All students can gather and be nurtured, and with alumni support and visionary leadership, they can grow companies and social innovation ventures that become the fabric of our community, creating jobs and inspiring a culture of ingenuity and impact with help from The Basement.

All university students – regardless of college or department affiliation can access the resource. Community-facing entrepreneurship workshops and programs offered by The Basement provide opportunities for alumni and community members to get involved. Professionals are invited to volunteer, join The Basement network or attend open event programs.

More details here. 

Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge

The Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge is an annual competition founded by the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and the HealthRoots Foundation for Global Health, which sponsors the $10,000 HealthRoots Grand Prize.

This core partnership has now expanded to include the UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences and UC Davis. We offer student teams from all schools, disciplines, and degree levels (undergrad through post-doc) the opportunity to present their ideas for low-cost, high-impact, and scalable global health solutions to world leaders in health, tech, design, and impact investing. More details here.

Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California

Are you living/attending school in California, under the age of 28, and have prototyped a program, product, or service with positive social impact? If you've answered YES to all of the above, apply for the Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California for your chance to win $40,000!

More information.  

Global Health Conferences

Attending Global Health conferences is an excellent way to network and get exposure to professionals in the field. Students can attend conferences and present their own work, this is a great resume booster! Students whose work is accepted to present can apply for funding from the Global Health Program by submitting the application below, and are encouraged to find additional funding opportunities.

Global Health Program Funding Request for Conferences

The Global Health Program encourages outstanding Global Health students to present their research papers and projects at educational and professional conferences.  Current Global Health majors and minors may apply for up to $200.00 to support conference travel.

Applicants must be current UC San Diego Global Health student at the time of the conference/event attendance, proof that the paper/project has been accepted by the conference must be included with the application, and students must apply for, and be approved for, funding before attending the conference.

Please complete the funding request form here.

Please note that funding will be awarded via reimbursement; receipts must be submitted to the Global Health Program after the applicant attends the conference.

Requirements for students receiving funding:

  • Complete a blog post for the Global Health blog about their experience
  • Prior to travel (one month before):
    • Complete Student Certification for Business-Related Travel and submit to the Global Health office or ( Be sure to check the first box "Directly supports the faculty/PI project or research program" or the second box "Presenting at a conference." If second box is checked, attach a copy of the program listing your name and UCSD). 
    • Enroll in free UC Travel Insurance.
    • Complete the Field Operational Planner.
      • Domestic Field Trips or Undergraduate Student Travel –   Online form
      • International Trips, Trips to Remote Areas, and/or trips involving special hazards (i.e. environmental, chemical, mechanical, etc.)  –   Word doc |  PDF

Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference (CUGH)

Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference

At the annual CUGH conference over 1800 scientists, students and implementers from academia, NGOs, government and the private sector will present, learn and collaborate to address some of the pressing challenges our world faces. Attendees will be inspired and challenged and learn new skills, contacts and ways we can improve the health of people and the planet.

Global Health and Innovation Conference by Unite for Sight

Global Health and Innovation Conference by Unite for Sight

The Global Health & Innovation Conference (#GHIC) is the world's leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference, with nearly 2,000 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries. This must-attend, thought-leading conference convenes leaders, changemakers, and participants from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.

UC Global Health Day

UC Global Health Day

This system-wide conference on global health showcases the outstanding research, training and outreach taking place across the University of California and is an amazing opportunity for UC students, fellows, faculty, staff and visiting scholars to gather to share their work.

International AIDS Conference

International AIDS Conference

The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health or development issue in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights. Each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic.

Women Leaders in Global Health Conference

Women Leaders in Global Health Conference

This conference is inspired by the large and growing number of women in global and public health, and frustration about the lack of diversity and representation of women in global health leadership positions. Participants will encounter cutting-edge thinking in global health; network with potential mentors, collaborators and others in the field; build leadership skills; and wrestle with how to advance women as a force in global health leadership.

Global Healthcare Conference

Global Healthcare Conference

The Global Healthcare Conference (GHC) is a premiere Academic Research scientific platform that strives to achieve the vision of Global Health 2030 through interdisciplinary engagement of academics, scientists, researchers, health-care professionals, and educators to address the system-wide challenges of global health.

Los Angeles Global Health Conference

Los Angeles Global Health Conference

The Los Angeles Global Health Conference is an annual global health conference hosted in Southern California.The conference aims to educate and connect with members of the UCLA, USC, CDU, and Los Angeles communities about the varying health disparities both in our backyards and around the world. Home to individuals from more than 140 countries speaking 224 different languages, Los Angeles's rich cultural diversity makes it an ideal place to examine the current status of world health.  It is our vision that the Los Angeles Global Health Conference become a space to discuss innovative ways to tackle health disparities—locally and globally.

Funding Resources

Student Organization Travel Reimbursement

Student Organization Travel Reimbursement

If attending a conference with a student org, principal members may be eligible for reimbursement for out-of-pocket travel expenses.

Sixth College Conference Funding Support

Sixth College Conference Funding Support

Sixth College students can apply for up to $250 in funding support per student. These funds must be used to subsidize travel and registration expenses associated with attending conferences.

Undergraduate Research Scholarships

Undergraduate Research Scholarships

If attending a conference to showcase research, consider applying for an undergraduate research scholarship through UCSD. Use the scholarship to work on your project and help fund your project’s showcasing.