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Crowdfunding: What’s in It for Scientists?

Alexandra Branscombe – It seemed like no one was willing to take a chance on Louisa Edgerly. She had been working for months to get funding for her research trip to the Republic of Congo—nothing came. Her flight was booked and her equipment ready, but she knew she couldn’t fund herself for two months in the field. In near desperation she created a project campaign on Petridish.org, a science based crowdfunding website. 50 days later, and only two days before her flight, Edgerly had raised $7,330- just over her goal of $7,000. For emerging scientists like Edgerly, crowdfunding offers more than a chance to do research. It is a way to get a foot in the door. A growing number of scientists are turning to a new channel for research funding—the masses. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have enabled entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians to pursue their project dreams, and now scientists are finding their way in too. But since Kickstarter changed its policy regarding scientific research, a growing number of research-based websites are cropping up providing a catalyst that connects scientists to potential donors. Why crowdsource? Louisa Edgerly successfully funded her global health research trip to the Republic of Congo on […]

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