The Baker Innovation Grant

Investing in Big, Bold Ideas.

In 2017, we created the Baker Innovation Grant (BIG), an opportunity for McCourt students to be granted $20,000 (each) in seed capital to develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. This is one of the largest student grant programs at the McCourt School.


The BIG was awarded to five McCourt students who are enrolled in a degree program during the January 2017 – January 2018 calendar year. These students (Baker Innovators) each received $20,000 and to incubate their solution to a problem related to security, while receiving mentorship and support, culminating in a presentation of their solution at the Baker Forum and an opportunity to pitch their ideas to experts. Opportunities for this pioneer group of Innovators include participating in robust individualized leadership training, attending exclusive monthly discussions, and approaching their solution through experiential opportunities.

About the Baker Center

Made possible by the generosity of Jon M. Baker, Sr. (C’64), the Baker Innovation Grant is the newest initiative of the Baker Center for Leadership & Governance. Understanding that no single institution can confront our global challenges alone, the Baker Center was founded to convene key stakeholders to reimagine solutions to pressing issues, and begin the important work of restoring faith in our institutions. The Baker Center challenges new and creative ideas and seeks to cultivate the next generation of leaders.

Tapping into McCourt Talent

The BIG is motivated by the idea that we should stretch the limits of how we think about policy problems and the ways to address them. Conversations about intractable problems have become calcified – if we could wipe the slate clean and tackle a problem, what would we do? How would we reimagine our solutions? The Baker Center is looking for the next generation of leaders to think about solutions in bold, new ways; leaders who will turn big ideas into action.

The 2017-18 Baker Theme

Many people have lost the sense of security that they once felt in their daily lives. In 2017, the Baker Center for Leadership & Governance will tackle the theme of “Restoring a Sense of Security.” Through our programming, the Baker Center will explore various aspects of security and insecurity. How did we get here? What can be done? How do we instill the sense of security that has slowly, but clearly eroded? How can we, together, restore a sense of security — whether it be on a global, social, physical, technological, economic, or more fundamental scale — and in so doing restore trust in the institutions designed to protect us.