Crowdfunding for Research

Scientists turn to crowdfunding to support research

Edward Miracco, a biochemist at UCLA, raised ,215 through crowdfunding to buy extra time on an electron microscope for his study of an enzyme that helps cancer cells grow.Edward Miracco, a biochemist at UCLA, raised $6, 215 through crowdfunding… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

UC San Diego graduate student Alex Piel is studying the family dynamics and habitats of chimpanzees in Tanzania's savanna. The research requires tracking animals, retrieving fecal samples and then testing to confirm genetic links.

It does not come cheap.

So after tapping traditional funding help from UC and other sources, Piel and Fiona Stewart, his wife and collaborator, recently decided to try their luck on the Internet. They posted a description of their project and an appeal to the public for money on Experiment, an online crowdfunding site devoted to science.

It worked well. They raised , 055 — just over their goal. All but 0, though, came from family, friends and colleagues.

Through Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, ArtistShare and other websites, crowdfunding is well established for raising money for political causes, the arts and charity. Its use in science, however, is still in the test tube phase.

Although scientists, particularly younger ones, are embracing the idea of seeking donations for funding chemical supplies, microscope and lab time and field travel, some are finding that it's easier to pierce the mysteries of DNA nanotechnology than it is to hit up strangers for spare change.

One scientist likened his own crowdfunding attempt to selling Girl Scout cookies.

But Piel, 35, who is in Britain to finish his lab work, thinks it's worth the effort. "I think scientists should try just about anything that has the possibility of supporting their work, " he said.

Some scientists report that projects with an emotional pull have more resonance.

UC Riverside chemistry professor Michael Pirrung raised about $5, 100 so a lab team member could stay on for an extra month to continue producing a possible kidney cancer therapy. Because of donors' personal interest in the disease, most of the money came from strangers, said Pirrung, who also receives substantial federal funding.

The emotional tug, however, may not be as strong for some other science projects "compared to something like music or animal rescue, " he said.

Science crowdfunding needs to "build community around a cause, " said Una Osili, research director at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

That seems to be occurring now that mid- and late-career scientists are following the example of younger colleagues and are starting to adopt crowdfunding, she added.

Bitcoin oversupply of Thanksgiving turkeys

by what-to-do-Bitcoining

"The website Assassination Market, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute Bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations. According to Assassination Market’s rules, if someone on its hit list is killed, any hitman who can prove he or she was responsible receives the collected funds.
"Sanjuro’s grisly ambitions go beyond raising the funds to bankroll a few political killings. He believes that if Assassination Market can persist and gain enough users, it will eventually enable the assassinations of enough politicians that no one would dare to hold office

Marquette University Students Successfully Run Indiegogo Crowdfunding ..  — Crowdfund Insider
.. the teen-size robot event, where the robots are programmed to play two-on-two soccer games and remote controls are not allowed.

R&D Globalization Sees Power Shifts  — Laboratory Equipment
There are about 10 U.S. universities that each have more than $1 billion in annual R&D spending, with Johns Hopkins Univ., leading the pack with about $2 billion.

Marquette social media class raises money through crowdfunding campaigns  — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
.. who runs the school's Humanoid Engineering and Intelligent Robotics Lab. The campaign has increased exposure for the robot project and the lab, Williams said. "We're definitely believers in crowdfunding for research projects after this," he added.

Related Posts