To offer quick and efficient access, for free, to important scientific tool to researchers, Rayyan Systems Inc. is charting a path towards integrated collaboration for researchers across the globe. The web/mobile application helps systematic review authors screen citations in a quick, easy and enjoyable fashion.
What originated as an idea at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), part of Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University, evolved into a service as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF’s) Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), where Robert Ayan – now CEO of Rayyan – developed his initial business case and secured a license to the intellectual property. The key ingredient in this initial development stage which contributed the company’s seed-stage capital was the Tech Venture Fund (TVF) from QSTP.
“For entrepreneurs like myself, TVF adds invaluable support that goes way beyond simply a cash infusion into the business. The team gave us realistic expectations and markers of success to set our operations on solid ground, starting with discussions around our business plan, and ultimately serving as the anchor investor to set the stage for other investors to follow,” said Ayan.
Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid, Executive Director of QCRI, said: “Rayyan is a perfectly told story of how research can lead to innovation. The story of Rayyan started with an idea that fulfills a need, and turned to reality at QCRI. It was clear – shortly after the system was developed – that this was a pressing need and, soon after, the software became the one of the most widely used systems anywhere. The system was built with the users in mind, and it focuses on delivering a solution. I am proud to have been one of the co-inventors of such transformational technology.”
Building on its refined combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, Rayyan licensed its technology from Qatar Foundation (QF) in late 2020 through the office of Industry Development and Knowledge Transfer (IDKT), part of QF Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI). Today, the company enables over 175,000 researchers from 180 countries to cut through mountains of literature in search for relevant information to extract and synthesize that can propel their current research.
“We provide free access to an all-important scientific tool to researchers everywhere, in an effort to make a meaningful contribution to research and education. Rayyan stands out as an intuitive, easy-to-use product that brings together the most powerful AI technologies – from natural language processing to machine learning – through a powerful AI powered workbench replete with tools that allow researchers to complete their work in a fraction of the time.” Ayan adds.
The startup’s rapid success is indicative of the TVF’s goal of breaking down barriers for tech companies and building an innovation ecosystem in Qatar. Working with local and international accelerators, incubators or spinouts from research institutes, the Fund has supported nearly two dozen startups across multiple hi-tech verticals.
For Ayan, the opportunity to create a positive impact was evident from the start and amplified during the COVID 19 health crisis. Rayyan hosts an up-to-date copy of the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) with over 850,000 articles uploaded by researchers that can be filtered and copied to populate new research projects, allowing discovery to progress without having to start from scratch.
“Because the pandemic is affecting all areas of society, the diversity of scientific studies reflects the many ways that COVID-19 can impact our lives. We give researchers a combination of tools that can turn weeks of work into mere days. As a computer-assisted process, Rayyan adds a level of integrity to health-centered research by recording every decision so that the process becomes reproducible, auditable, and reduces potential for human error.”
As a SaaS (software as a service) web-based research collaboration platform, Rayyan also facilitates the work of distributed teams, remote workers, and supports offline work in the midst of a global shift away from the traditional office space.
“Building on what we have learned so far, I predict 2022 will be the year we realize the greater potential of the opportunity we see to make a significant, meaningful and lasting impact on global research. We are already looking at a huge opportunity to make contributions to the scientific and medical research communities and are working to fulfil more of this potential each day,” Ayan said. “For this goal, we are hoping to build on our existing partnerships to better serve a global customer base of trailblazers in all fields of science and medicine.”
To apply and find out more about QSTP’s TVF please visit: https://qstp.org.qa/tech-venture-fund/
To learn more about Rayyan please visit: https://www.rayyan.ai/