QF-funded startup, powers global research for scientific discovery

Doha, Qatar: 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 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 of 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 fulfill 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/


Qatar Science & Technology Park

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), is a Free Zone, accelerator and incubator for tech-product development in Qatar. The park fosters an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar that works to accelerate commercialization of market-ready technologies to realize Qatar’s national diversification drive.

QSTP’s focus ranges across four overarching themes, comprising Energy, Environment, Health Sciences and Information & Communication Technologies (ICT), in line with the Qatar National Research Strategy announced in 2012.

Located in Qatar Foundation’s Education City, QSTP has access to the vital resources of a cluster of leading research universities. Members of QSTP’s Free Zone include Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), international corporations and research institutions. They are collectively committed to investing in new technology development programs, creating intellectual property, enhancing technology management skills and developing innovative new products.

QSTP supports QF RDI’s economic and human development objectives for Qatar and is increasingly recognized as an international hub for applied research, innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship.

For more information, please visit the QSTP website at www.qstp.org.qa

Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI)

The Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) division’s role is to play an integral part in identifying and addressing challenges and opportunities across ICT, energy, environment and healthcare, in alignment with Qatar’s national RDI strategy and priorities. QF RDI is at the forefront of Qatar’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, accelerating economic development by supporting the commercialization of market-ready technologies and facilitating the creation of new high-tech products and services.

QF RDI is responsible for translating Qatar’s national RDI strategy into specific initiatives and actions for Qatar Foundation’s (QF) RDI entities. It also directs their efforts in relation to economic value creation, knowledge transfer and the establishment of mutually beneficial national and international RDI partnerships. To ensure these efforts deliver maximum impact, the QF Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation plans, coordinates and oversees all RDI-related activities across QF.

Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization that supports Qatar on its journey to becoming a diversified and sustainable economy. QF strives to serve the people of Qatar and beyond by providing specialized programs across its innovation-focused ecosystem of education, research and development, and community development.

QF was founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who shared the vision to provide Qatar with quality education. Today, QF’s world-class education system offers lifelong learning opportunities to community members as young as six months through to doctoral level, enabling graduates to thrive in a global environment and contribute to the nation’s development.

QF is also creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub in Qatar, where homegrown researchers are working to address local and global challenges. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning and fostering social engagement through programs that embody Qatari culture, QF is committed to empowering the local community and contributing to a better world for all.

For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, please visit: www.qf.org.qa

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