As you've probably heard by now, Ubuntu has been accepted to Google Summer of Code this year. We're currently at the point where we are looking for students to take part and the mentors to pair with them to make the proposal. We have some ideas on the wiki, but there's nothing to stop you coming up with your own if you have a great idea. The only requirement is that you find a mentor to help you with it.
The best way to do this is to write up a proposal on your wiki page on the Ubuntu wiki, and then to email the Ubuntu Summer of Code mailing list about it. You can also ask for possible mentors on IRC and on other Ubuntu mailing lists related to your idea.
I have a couple of ideas on the wiki page, but I am happy to consider ideas from students that fall in my area of expertise.
I spend most of my time working on developer tools and infrastructure. These are things that users of Ubuntu won't see, but are used every day by developers of Ubuntu. Improvements we can make in this area can in turn improve Ubuntu by giving us happier, more productive, developers. It's also an interesting area to work in, as there are usually different constraints to developing user software, as developers have different demands.
If you think that sounds interesting and you have a great idea that falls in to that area, or you like one of my ideas on the wiki page, then get in touch with me. I will be happy to discuss your ideas and help you flesh them out in to a possible proposal, but I won't be able to mentor everyone.
I would consider mentoring any idea that either improved existing tools used by Ubuntu developers (bzr, pbuilder, devscripts, ubuntu-dev-tools, etc.) or created a new one that would make things easier. In the same spirit, anything that makes it easier for someone to get started with Ubuntu development, such as Harvest, helpers for creating packages, etc. could be a possible project. The last category would be infrastructure-type projects such as the idea to automate test-merging-and-building of new upstreams, or similar ideas.
I've also posted about some ideas that I would like to see previously on my blog, which might be a source of inspriation.
If this interests you then you can find out how to contact me on my Launchpad profile.