Sussex MSc student wins the Brighton Grand Challenge…

A Sussex postgraduate student is off to California to meet with Silicon Valley’s leaders after winning a competition for technology entrepreneurs.

Brighton grand challenge

Maya Stanford, currently in her second year of an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction, impressed judges at the Brighton Grand Challenge with her concept for a computerised therapy system that helps users with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Speaking to the Argus newspaper, Maya said: “I’m so happy to have won this. I’m really excited about the opportunity it offers.”

The aim of the Brighton Grand Challenge is to discover talented individuals who have the vision and clear intention to develop viable business concepts that help address humanity’s hardest problems, leading to a better, safer world.

Mike Herd, Director of the Sussex Inovation centre (SinC)and one of the judges for the competition, said: “We saw a variety of great ideas and dedicated people, so choosing the winners was a difficult decision which provoked much debate among the judges.

“What stood out about Maya was that she was so obviously a brilliant mind, and had thoroughly applied herself to making her idea a reality.”

Of the 10 finalists Maya was one of only two to win a place on a six-day executive programme in December at Singularity University’s NASA Research Park in California where she will have a chance to network with Silicon Valley’s leaders.

University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Davies, who was also on the judging panel, said: “Maya was very innovative. We were very impressed at how she used her experience of psychology from her undergraduate study and combined it with the knowledge she has gained from her current study of informatics. This shows just how innovative our students can be across a range of disciplines.”

Mike Herd said: “If someone is going to change the world for the better, they need idealism, intelligence and dedication, and Maya demonstrated all of those in abundance. That’s a real credit to the University, which I know aims to instil all of its students with similar values.”

The Brighton Grand Challenge was sponsored by American Express, the University of Sussex, University of Brighton, Brighton and Hove City Council, Wired Sussex, Sussex Innovation Centre, and the Singularity University.

(images via the Brighton Grand Challenge)

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