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UC San Diego Chancellor's Innovation Awards

Recognizing impact through Innovation and Startup creation

UC San Diego’s innovators play an essential role in translating ideas into actions to improve the lives of others and address the grand challenges of our global society. The UC San Diego Chancellor’s Innovation Awards recognizes truly exceptional innovators - faculty, students and recent alumni - for their success in launching new startup companies or other entities, or in developing technologies, social platforms or other social innovations through their research, program participation or activities across campus. This brand-new award celebrates the uniquely Triton innovative culture and entrepreneurial spirit that have become defining hallmarks of UC San Diego.


Join us at the Awards Ceremony 2/29

Join the exceptional community of innovators and top companies rising from the mesa in celebration of the inaugural 2024 awardees and finalists.

Thursday, February 29, 2024
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Design & Innovation Building

Award Categories

The Chancellor’s Innovation Awards program launches with two Innovator of the Year awards – Startup of the Year and Student/Alumni Innovation of the Year

Award Information

Subject to budgetary approval, the Principal Student/Alumni Innovator of the Year is awarded a cash prize of $25,000.* The Startup of the Year is awarded a cash prize of $50,000. 

*Prize money paid to entity or service provider - details forthcoming.


Program Guidelines

Any member of the Triton community may nominate a current faculty member, student, or recent Triton alum who meets the qualifications.

  • Self-nominations are not permitted
  • Student nominations are welcome to include endorsement from at least one mentor, who may be a member of UC San Diego faculty or staff, or community member with direct experience working with the student or knowledge of their innovation.
  • Faculty nominations are welcome to include a supporting statement from respective Department Chair, Dean or Vice Chancellor and/or a community member with direct experience working with faculty member and familiarity with the startup venture.
  • Past award recipients are not eligible for the program. Past nominees who did not receive an award may be nominated again.
  • Nominations do not need to exemplify all criteria. Nominations can focus on one or more than one of the key selection criteria.

How to Submit Nominations

The nomination period for the 2023-2024 Startup of the Year and Innovator of the Year open is officially closed. Please use the online nomination portal where nominators will submit the nominee's information and narrative and the Award Portal will route for internal review. Please contact us if you have any questions or problems with your submission at

  • Preferred Nomination period: Fall 2023 September 20 – October 10
  • Full Nomination period: Fall 2023 September 20 – November 15

Nominations must be made before October 10th for eligibility to participate in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Council Innovation Awards Showcase - a unique and highly recommended networking experience for nominees to connect with the Innovation Award review board. All other nominations must be submitted by November 15th

A review panel of representatives from the Chancellor’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council (IEC) recommends award recipients to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.


Review Process and Essential Dates

The award recipients are recognized as follows: 

Showcase: October 19, 2023 5 - 7 p.m. at the UC San Diego Craft Center for a poster session showcase with IEC Members 

Ceremony: February 29, 2024 for an in-person event with location and details to be decided. 

All reviewed nominees and their nominators are invited to attend the showcase and the ceremony. Cash awards (subject to budgetary approval) 

Nominator Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Who is eligible for Startup of the Year?

A. Startup created novel intellectual property (IP), preferably which UC San Diego licensed to their startup.

Q. Who is eligible for Student/Alumni Innovator of the Year?

A. Matriculated or registered students at any college or department, including undergraduate and graduate students. Post Docs are not eligible. Alumni who’ve graduated within the last 5 years are also eligible (graduation years 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023). Alumni who are also staff or faculty at the university will also be eligible and considered, however there may be unique considerations.

Q. Can I nominate student startups?

A. Yes, those with recorded novel intellectual property are eligible. See guidelines and definitions section for more details.

Q. Can UC San Diego Health employees be nominated?

A. Yes, Startups lead by health faculty or staff are eligible for nomination and based on novel IP are eligible.

Q. Do nominees need to exemplify all criteria?

A. No, nominations can focus on only one or more that the nominee has demonstrated.

Q. When is the deadline to submit a nomination?

A. The preferred nomination deadline for both of the 2023-2024 Awards is October 10, 2023. The full cycle is open for nominations until November 15th