Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the minimum technical requirements for using the online application?
A: The use of this site's application process is best suited for Google Chrome. If you are experiencing any technical problems using a browser other than Google Chrome or Firefox, log out and re-enter the site using Google Chrome. Please note that users have often reported being unable to access the site using Safari, and we recommend another browser if you are on an Apple computer.

Q: How do I include supplementary materials – i.e., articles and reports?
A: We do not accept supplementary materials, and they will not be included with your application or reviewed.

Q: If a question doesn't apply to me, should I leave it blank or type in "N/A"?
A: Leave it blank unless it is required (*).

Q: What if my essays exceed the word limit? Will evaluators see my entire response?
A: The word limit is not enforced through the application page to allow for individual discretion, meaning Innovations staff will see your entire response. Please note that if your response exceeds the word limit to a degree that our team feels is excessive, you may be asked to edit your response.

Q: Can I import my essays from another document?
A: Yes. You may copy and paste data from other documents directly into the online application. Please note, however, that the online application converts your data to simple text so some of the formatting may be lost.

Q: Do you have any guidelines for writing the essays?
A: Yes. Please click the "tips and samples" link located on the above Menu Bar to review the sample applications.

Q: Why can't I log on?
A: Please ensure that you have created an account. Please also ensure that you are using the correct user name and password.

Q: How do I change my user name and password?
A: Currently, users are unable to change user names. Passwords can be changed by clicking on the "forgot your password" link on the home page. This will generate a new temporary password that can be changed later.

Q: What do I do if I forgot my password?
A: Click the "forgot your password" link on the login page and your username and a temporary password will be sent to the email address associated with your account. You will be directed to create a new permanent password when you login with this temporary password.

Q: Why am I not receiving an email acknowledging receipt of my application?
A: Check your email address and make sure it is correct and valid. If the email address appears valid, check your junk mail or spam mail folder, the message may have been redirected there.

Q: Do you accept paper applications?
A: No. The application process is now completely electronic. If you are unable to submit an online application, please call the Innovations office (800-722-0074).

Q: What is your privacy policy?
A: Preliminary application materials are shared with Innovations evaluators, scholars, and may be shared with the general public. Supplementary application materials are only shared with the applicant's permission. Please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Q: What if I decide not to apply and would like my application removed?
A: Please send an email including your username and program name to, and we will remove it from the database.

Q: Can I make changes to my application after it has been submitted?
A: No.

Q: Can I submit more than one application?
A: Yes. If your department/agency/city/state has several initiatives that meet the criteria and would present a compelling application, you may submit a separate application for each of these initiatives.

Q: Is there a fee associated with making an application to the Bright Ideas?
A: No. There is no fee for submitting an application.