The Institute for Informatics (I2) and Healthcare Innovation Lab (the Lab) are pleased to announce the Big Ideas 2021-2022 Competition for the Washington University School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare communities.

The intent of the Big Ideas Program is to support novel and innovative projects that are clinically relevant, technically feasible, and operationally sustainable. Annually, the program provides an opportunity for collaborative clinical, operational and research teams to develop innovations in informatics and healthcare delivery.

Applicants may request up to $50,000 in grant funding.

Get Inspired

Applications must include specific and measurable project aims, a concise explanation of the methods to be used, and a statement concerning scholarly outputs the project team anticipates generating (e.g., publications, funding proposals, intellectual property disclosures).

The intent of this competition is to support innovative projects that are clinically relevant, rigorously evaluated and operationally sustainable. Applications should explain how their proposed project speaks to these characteristics. Successful proposals could, for example, reflect the following strategies:

  • Using personalized health data to inform/optimize care.
  • Moving healthcare delivery closer to where patients live, work, and play.
  • Harnessing community data to improve community health.

Some examples of successful project ideas might include:

  • Evaluating the clinical and financial impact of predictive algorithms for detecting patients at-risk of developing sepsis and using such insights to proactively intervene with those individuals before they deteriorate.
  • Assessing the utility of wearable devices for the remote monitoring of patients in a peri-operative contexts in order to reduce complications and/or readmissions.
  • Testing the usability and clinical impact of voice assistants in home-care settings in order to deliver behavioral health interventions.

Build Your Team

The competition encourages applications from all individuals affiliated with BJC HealthCare and/or the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), with a preference for projects that involve collaboration across the two organizations. The Lab and I2 administrations are happy to help facilitate connections between BJC and WUSM partners, if needed. Teams require a WUSM member but other Washington University schools can be represented as well.

  • High impact proposals that do not involve multiple sites or organizations will also be considered for funding.
  • For research fellows or trainees, the mentor (faculty member) must submit the application as the primary investigator. Please describe within the application the trainee-mentor circumstance.
  • Primary investigators/project leads may hold only one innovation award at a time and total awarded funds may not exceed $50,000 within a 12-month period. (PIs may serve as team members on multiple teams.)
  • Proposals should include at least three members in good standing in order to be considered. An example of a successful team could be: a clinician, a research investigator, and an operational champion.
  • The proposal should highlight how funding will be used to advance healthcare delivery.

Dates and Deadlines

Dates Milestone

March 8, 2021

Call for letters of intent

March 29, 2021

Letters of intent are due

April 5, 2021

Notification of teams to submit full applications

April 27, 2021

Pitch Event

May 3, 2021

Full applications are due

May 17, 2021

Winning Teams will be informed

May 19, 2021

Public Announcement of Winning Teams

July 1, 2021

2021-2022 Teams Cycle Officially Begins

June 30, 2022

2021-2022 Teams Cycle Ends


If your team was invited to submit a full application, the online application MUST BE RECEIVED no later than 5:00 p.m. CT, Monday, May 3, 2021. This deadline will be strictly adhered to with NO exceptions.

Applications can be submitted here.


For more information or to ask questions, please contact us at