CIIR doctoral student, Shiri Dori-Hacohen, came in first place at the final competition of the UMass Innovation Challenge, where the top entrepreneurship teams competed for up to $65k for their startups. Shiri spoke about commercializing research on Automated Controversy Detection (with advisor James Allan). The finals, conducted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst, were held on April 7, 2016. She won $35,000 in funding for the team's startup.
According to the UMass IC website, the UMass Innovation Challenge awards prizes each academic year through competitive events that are designed to help and reward UMass students and young alumni from any of the system’s five campuses who want to pursue a novel business idea and develop it into a marketable product.
The goal is for interdisciplinary teams to conceptualize a product with regard to its scientific and technological design, identify customers, and create a business plan for the product’s commercialization. Competition judges are entrepreneurs, legal experts, and consultants who also volunteer their time to mentor with students who are interested in marketing their new ideas.