Smart Sparrow brings science to students with Gates Foundation funding

An education technology start-up spun out of UNSW is one of the big winners in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $20 million Next-Generation Courseware Challenge.

Dror AU Office 1

Smart Sparrow founder Dr Dror Ben-Naim

A consortium led by education technology Smart Sparrow and Arizona State University has secured funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create smart science courses for students.

The Smart Science Network consortium is one of only seven successful applicants in the Foundation’s US$20 million Next Generation Courseware Challenge, which aims to revolutionise higher education for disadvantaged students.

More than 100 digital learning innovators were invited to create ambitious proposals for ‘next generation’ courseware. 

The consortium including Smart Sparrow will develop two “smart courses” that teach basic science concepts with the aid of “games-like interactive, adaptive simulations.”

Smart Sparrow is the product of more than seven years’ research at UNSW by founder Dr Dror Ben-Naim. UNSW's commercialisation company NewSouth Innovations (NSi) is a founding partner and shareholder.

“This is an extraordinary endorsement for an Australian invention — particularly given the tough international competition in the global education technology sector,” Dr Ben-Naim said. 

The full Smart Science Network consortium consists of Smart Sparrow, Arizona State University, the University of Texas at Arlington, Achieving the Dream and e*mersion. 

Earlier this year, Smart Sparrow raised $10 million from investors to fund its international expansion. 

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Media contact: Ry Crozier, UNSW Media Office | 02 9385 1933 | 0425 245 887 |