Two Brighton technology entrepreneurs, including a postgraduate student from the University of Sussex, are heading to Silicon Valley after winning the Brighton Grand Challenge, a competition searching for solutions to some of humanity’s biggest problems.

Charles Delingpole, 31, and Maya Stanford, 21, had four minutes to present viable business concepts to global challenges such as health, water and energy in front of a panel of experts that included the Executive Director of the Sussex Innovation Centre, Mike Herd, and University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Davies. The competition was backed by California’s Singularity University, which provides education and partnerships to connect individuals across the world with cutting-edge technologies.

Maya Stanford, currently in her second year of an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction, impressed the judges with her concept for a computerised therapy system that helps users with post-traumatic stress disorder. The system will administer Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy that holds disturbing memories as the cause of mental disorders.

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

“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,” said Mike Herd. “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. 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.”

Mr Delingpole is the founder of Brighton-based web business The Student Room, and used its £7 million annual revenue and other ventures to pour investment into an intelligent banking security system. His Stelapoint Gateway flags up clients who may be involved in money laundering and corruption so banks can act without having to close down financial services for all.The pair were up against eight other candidates and will now fly out in December to join a six-day executive programme at Singularity University in California.