Young Inventors Will Compete for Up to $50,000 in Start-Up Money at UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge Competition May 5

DATE: Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TIME: Award Announcement and Media Reception 6:30-7 p.m.

PLACE: UMass Amherst Campus Center, Room 1009

Up to $50,000 in prize money supplied by private donors could be awarded to the winning team when University of Massachusetts Amherst student scientist-entrepreneurs compete with business plan presentations from 3:30 to approximately 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5. In the 2009 Innovation Challenge competition, judges must decide which among four teams has the best entrepreneurial plan for taking a new idea to market. The winning team will be announced at about 6:30 p.m.

The four finalist teams are:

Bug Power, graduate and undergraduate physicists and engineers who won a preliminary round with their new method to harness bacteria to clean up waste, eliminate odor and generate electricity in portable toilets.

QD Tech students propose a way to synthesize and market quantum dots, which are nanoparticles for photovoltaics, optical electronics and life sciences.

Localocracy is an Internet platform for improving efficiency and openness of representative government by enhancing and encouraging community involvement.

Save a Life, Restrain Yourself, a lightweight, portable seatbelt that Americans traveling abroad can use in any car.

Since 2005, the UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge has provided more than $200,000 in awards to 20 different student-led teams. It is designed to help current students and young alumni who have science-related business ideas to develop business plans and move products closer to market.

More information is available at:

Contact: Heather Demers, 413/577-0231;
Ed Blaguszewski, 413/545-0444;