Skip to Content
Helping Innovators Grow Roots


Emerging Innovation Scholars (BIG Ideas)


Emerging Innovation Scholars (BIG Ideas), launched by The University of Alabama Honors College in collaboration with Innovate Alabama, is, by design, an entry-level program that encourages students who have limited or no competition experience to develop their ideas, transform their thinking and address societal problems through creativity and ingenuity. Advising, mentoring, workshops, and assistance are integral parts of the program, along with funding and recognition.

Beyond the contest itself, the program will support every participant throughout the learning process, helping them to be better prepared for other in-class and on-campus idea competitions, as well as for the future real-world competition of ideas that follows.


Any University of Alabama Honors student may submit and pitch an idea to the Emerging Innovation Scholars Program (BIG Ideas) panel. All team members must be current UA undergraduates or Stillman College Honors undergraduates who are in good academic standing. Teams should consist of 3-5 members who each must participate in all required activities.


Phase I

A 3-page proposal and a 1-minute video. Identify a social problem and a proposed solution with emphasis on the solution’s creativity.

Phase II

An 8-10 page proposal and a 5-minute video. Increased emphasis on viability.

Phase II also requires a 30- to 60-second video and a short description with non-proprietary information that may be used for marketing purposes.


In 2024-25, Emerging Innovation Scholars (BIG Ideas) will be expanding to the following institutions of higher education:

  • Stillman College
  • Talladega College
  • University of North Alabama
  • University of South Alabama

Learn More

To learn about upcoming Emerging Innovation Scholar (BIG Ideas) programming, visit For questions, please contact Gordon Martin, director of the Kennemer Center, at


[Through this program], I have reshaped my mindset towards my future, and I am now constantly searching for ideas and opportunities for entrepreneurship.

Participating Student, Spring 2024 Cohort

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you have dedicated to us students and this community! The work you do is incredible and is making enormous strides in growing and nurturing Alabama.

Participating Student, Spring 2024 Cohort

I truly enjoyed mentoring my student team and have let them know I’d be happy to continue to serve as an advisor moving forward. I was impressed by how smart, curious and driven they were to accept feedback throughout the process and refine their idea. Please let me know how I can stay involved moving forward. This opportunity was immensely satisfying on a personal and professional level, and I’d love to continue to mentor / support students moving forward as part of this project or other opportunities as they arise.

Mentor, Spring 2024 Cohort