The Internet has given rise to a new phenomenon called crowdfunding, and scientists are using this method of online public fundraising to produce and fund their research. One such crowdfunding venue is the #SciFund Challenge. In less than one week, participants in SciFund Challenge 2 have raised nearly $45,000 for their research projects. The month-long challenge raised over $76,000 in its first round. Of the 75 scientists taking part in the challenge, three are CoEnv students who have already raised $4,600 between them.
SciFund, and crowdfunding projects like it, may be revolutionizing the way research gets done. Today’s tough economy demands a creative and entrepreneurial attitude toward academic funding. Research has typically been funded through grants and contracts allowing very little public participation. Crowdfunding allows the public to get a glimpse of research projects from their conception, providing people around the world with the opportunity to help such projects come to life.
“The public wants to know what it’s like inside the Ivory Tower. Creativity and the Internet allow that to happen,” said Karyn Boenker, one of the University of Washington’s SciFund participants.
Can crowdfunding offer an alternative or even a replacement for the granting process? The possibility lies in the hands of those who choose to donate and support modern fundraising, and in the hands of scientists who must communicate the importance of their research up-front to a wide range of audiences. Take a look at these CoEnv projects:
Karyn Boenker, MS, is about to graduate from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. She is raising funds for an research project on public perceptions about peak oil and energy in Hawai’i (Project link). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Kuehne MS, is a freshwater ecologist at the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. Her research uses inexpensive soundscape data to monitor impacts of urbanization on species diversity and freshwater environments (Project link). Email:email@example.com
Emma Timmins Schiffman is a PhD student at the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. Her research investigates how ocean acidification will impact Pacific oysters and other shellfish. Her work has been covered in the The Seattle Times (Project link). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org