Crowdfunding For Scientists

crowdfunding

Just a few years ago this might have looked like an extremely unlikely to occur but crowdfunding is moving towards the academic arena, and now we are seeing crowdfunding for scientists.

Crowdfunding has become a buzzword, and if you can crowdfund art, why not crowdfund academic research?

Crowdfunding is defined as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet”.

Started only 5 years ago but thanks to pioneer sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, crowdfunding is now a mainstream.

It’s taken a long time for crowdfunding to reach the level of popularity that it now experiences with $2.7 billion dollars raised through crowdfunding in 2012, and only Kickstarter has generated over $1 billion in pledges, funding mostly artists, filmmakers, inventors, entrepreneurs and technologists – with over 5.7 million contributors from 224 countries worldwide; and nearly 16,000 supporting more than 50 projects.

As per theguardian.com “crowdfunding is proving hugely popular – the sector is growing at an astonishing rate” and “people are putting their money into things that they really care about”.

According to the team of experiment.com, “in recent years, it’s become increasingly difficult for new ideas to get off the ground, especially the innovative and high-risk ideas with the biggest impact”.

As per these websites the ‘classic’, mainstream grant agencies, frequently subject to economic and political pressure, often favor expensive, low-risk, long-term science instead of new, unique and often high-risk fundamental research.

This year, Denny Luan launched experiment.com, whereas Matt Salzberg, recently founded petridish.org – the first two sites for life sciences.

According to Matt Salzberg “people are so excited about new discoveries, new ideas, and science, but a person at home has no way to feel like they’re a part of that”. What Salzberg’s describing is something others have called “citizen science,” which goes well beyond just asking the crowd for funding.

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