News
Kelly Heber Awarded the Venture Hive Virtual Accelerator Prize

Captured, a tool created by Kelly Heber and Ian Dunning, was awarded the Venture Hive Virtual Accelerator Prize at the 2014 US Department of State sponsored Fish Hackathon, that ran concurrently with the Our Oceans 2014 Conference convened by Secretary John Kerry. The prize includes three months of financial support from Venture Hive as well as consulting assistance to develop product goals and longterm strategy. Kelly Heber, a PhD Student with Professor Lawrence Susskind, and her project partner Iain Dunning plan on using the financial and strategic support to fine tune the product for use in Johor Malaysia and part of the ongoing work that Susskind's students are doing in the Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program. Here, Heber has carried out field work in three villages who depend on aquaculture development and balance this with their abundant mangrove forests. Heber hopes that Captured will assist aquaculture communities in better planning and management of their mangroves while maintaining growth in the local "blue economy." One key innovation of Captured is that it enables communities to visualize the hard to see "ecosystem services" that their local environment provides to increase human well-being. One example includes how mangroves act as buffers to large tropical storms protecting coastal communities. Many of these values were previously locked behind paywalls of academic literature, and not accessible to communities who could use them. 

Kelly's work was also recently featured in an article by the MIT News focusing on her work with Balinese fishing-communities and their attempts to build coral reef management systems. The article describes Kelly's use of PAR techniques to foster support and collaboration inside her research communities. To read the full article please click here.  To learn more about PAR and PAR at MIT, please click here.