Student team pitching idea

The Graduate College invites you to participate in our Shark Tank-like event, GradNext where faculty, students, and staff propose ideas to BREAK graduate education! Help us re-envision what a dissertation, course work, degree programs and overall student success looks like in the next 5-10 years. We desire to innovate all areas of graduate education including graduate training,  graduate student support and re-envisioning exit projects. 

We are partnering with the Center for Entrepreneurship to support teams (up to 6) of faculty/staff, students, or a mix in the develop process and business plan for their innovative idea. The top-ranking idea will receive $1,000 in addition to funding support for their proposed idea. 

We champion a student-centered graduate education environment that integrates inclusion, belonging, and innovation as essential for creating the research, creative works, and scholarship necessary to develop unconventional graduate pathways and foster a sustainable global society.

Proposal Format:

Applicants are asked to complete and submit the following pitch deck (see attachment) that outlines their innovative proposal. Please see "Applications" section below for details.  Applicants are encouraged to review President Pintos Next Lives Here vision and Dean Ward's strategic vision, as well as highlight how their proposal aligns with these strategies.


Applications Open: January 26, 2024

Application Deadline Extended: March 15, 2024

Top Applicants Notified by March 22, 2024

Final pitch presentations will be held on April 9, 2024 from 10:00AM-12:00PM in 1819 Innovation Hub 3rd floor atrium with UC's senior leadership team.


Provost Valerio Ferme

Dean Rose Marie Ward

Optional Support for Applicants:

Attend UC Startup Weekend (January 26-28) and build your team and idea over the free weekend in the 1819 Innovation Hub with the help of Startup Cincy founders on site to provide mentorship. Register here for Startup Weekend

Attend Bearcat LaunchPad, a 5-week business development workshop series, taking place every Tuesday from 5:30-7:00pm in the Lindner College of Business Kautz Attic (Lindner 4350) (February 5 through March 5) where we walk you through the fundamentals of putting together a business model around your idea


Please use this pitch deck template to begin your presentation.

Students can submit applications to, or click below.


For more information, email Omotayo Banjo, PhD, Associate Dean of the Graduate School at, and/or Kate Harmon, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at