Though alluded to many times, what has not been discussed as often is whether efforts at communication can help scientists get funded. And this may apply to both academia and industry (biotech and life sciences).
56.13 per cent of all projects “fail” on Kickstarter (which is about the same rate across all crowdfunding websites). But Kickstarter doesn’t index these failed projects – that is, they are hard to find both on search engines and on the site itself. Why?
Most scientists finance their laboratories (and often even their own salaries) by applying to government agencies and private foundations for grants. The process has become a major time sink.
“For science, the actual output is more knowledge,” Microryza founder Wu said.
Microryza, like Kickstarter, adopts the all-or-nothing crowdfunding model — to ensure that researchers can actually deliver on the proposed project, Wu said. But while donors to Microryza projects get an inside look at the research through lab updates, there aren’t any physical rewards for backers besides a copy of the finished article.
FundaGeek is shut down. I found this new Science Based “Kickstarter” website: https://www.microryza.com/ that was started mid 2012.
On the site, researchers set up a profile with their proposed project and raise money to carry out the research. Backers projects can track the lab’s progress as experiments unfold and have the opportunity to interact directly with the researchers.
“This solution helps close the gap for potential and promising, but unfunded projects,” Bill Gates said about Microryza.
The caliber of researchers is high. A majority of the project owners are working on or have advanced degrees, and many already work with scientific or academic organizations, and just need an extra push to achieve their goals. Profiles include videos, biographical information about the scientists, and answer the questions “What are the goals of this project?”, “Why is this research important?”, and “How will the funds be used?”
As research budgets tighten at universities and federal financing agencies, a new crop of Web-savvy scientists is hoping the wisdom — and generosity — of the crowds will come to the rescue. While nonprofit science organizations and medical research centers commonly seek donations from the public, Dr. Calkins, an adjunct professor of biology at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and Dr. Gee may have been the first professional scientists to use a generic “crowd funding” Web site to underwrite basic research.