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13 September, 2017 - 12:12 By Tony Quested

Cambridge alumna named one of world’s top young innovators

Sparrho Vivian Chan

Cambridge University alumna Dr Vivian Chan has been selected by the MIT Technology Review for this year's Innovators Under 35 in the ‘Visionaries’ category.

She is honoured for her work as CEO and co-founder of Sparrho, a platform that blends AI and human expertise to make science more discoverable, understandable, and shareable.

Dr Chan has twice been invited to address EU ministers about the importance of open data for innovation and led Sparrho to the semi-finals of the 5th cohort of the Duke of York's Pitch@Palace programme. 

She was also selected by Management Today as one of its 35 Women Under 35 in 2015. 

Dr Chan completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, after spending a year working in a venture fund in Australia. She is a former president and chairman of Cambridge University Technology Enterprise Club (CUTEC) and was part of the inaugural Entrepreneur First cohort in 2012.

Sparrho is London-based and was founded in 2013. It is a scientific information platform which aims to facilitate access to expert knowledge for everyone and present it in an understandable, attractive format which is relevant to users’ daily lives.

Dr Chan says: “The idea is to allow anyone, like my grandmother, for example, to understand cutting edge research in the relevant subject without in-depth prior knowledge." 

Her mission is to democratise science. While the internet has put much of the world’s information at our fingertips, Dr Chan realised that the vast majority scientific research and expertise was still behind expensive paywalls beyond the reach of most people.

Sparrho recently raised $3 million in its latest funding round; the investment will help Sparhho provide this access to millions of people as the platform is surfacing open access papers hidden in the maelstrom of peer reviewed research websites, rather than all papers, which are behind pay barriers.

“Sparrho is making science more social - and our society more scientific,” Dr Chan says.

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