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28/1/2020  
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DEBATES

Crowdfunding for scientific research

Crowdfundings has expanded beyond the commercialization of ideas being used by scientists to raise money for their research projects

Times are changing and funding research projects is becoming far more difficult through the conventional route therefore researcher are forced to chase new ways to fund their ideas
Redacción 19/12/2013 Send to a friend
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Times are changing and funding research projects is becoming far more difficult through the conventional route. 25 years ago, about 20% of grant applications received funding. Today, funded grants are down to about 3-7%. This means that scientists are being forced to consider other options; however, there is only so much available through non-profit organizations and other NGOs. When it first gained popularity, online crowdfunding was mostly targeted at arts, music, and film projects through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But its success has brought scientists to explore this new funding mechanism using sites like Microryza and Petridish, where the focus is solely on raising funds for scientific research.

Crowdfunding’s usefulness has expanded beyond the commercialization of ideas. The medium is now being used by staff and faculty to raise money for other activities, including university development and early-stage research. Microryza is a platform for discovering, funding, and experiencing new scientific discoveries and Petridish is a new way for scientists to showcase their research to the public, and for the public to show recognition to innovative researchers.

Crowdfunding is a new frontier for scientists, pushing them to explain their research in colloquial terms. It also forces scientists to do something they are often uncomfortable with: marketing their research to non-scientists. The potential reward is bigger than simply raising the necessary funds; if scientists are able to get the public excited about a project, they build a network outside of the academic bubble. This network is able to give an entirely different kind of feedback, ask questions, and follow the research as it progresses (many platforms are designed to give donors exclusive updates on the progress of a project). It opens up dialogue with the public in a way that we haven’t yet seen before, one that could potentially begin to have a very real influence on the progress of scientific research.

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