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Scientists discover ‘crowdfunding’ as a way of replacing research grants

Traditional scientific funding proposals typically do not ask donors to “crowdfund my meth lab, yo,” but then young scientist Ethan Perlstein isn’t taking the traditional route to underwrite his research. Like an increasing number of scientists who have seen public grants and investments shrivel, Mr. Perlstein has broken away from traditional sources of scientific funding and turned to the Web, social media and “crowdfunding” to raise money for his efforts. “Government grant funding system is pretty bleak” outside of the most promising proposals, Mr. Perlstein said. “Projects will get more success with how much energy researchers put into their campaign.” Posting a detailed description of his research proposal on the crowdfunding website Rockethub.com, Mr. Perlstein raised $25,460 for his project on drug discovery. The pitch included a posting on his personal blog (perlsteinlab.com) titled “Crowdfund my meth lab, yo” to educate the public on his research and help his funding. The yearlong effort also has included Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. The difficulties of raising funds for scientific research were underscored with the release last week of a poll of more than 3,700 front-line scientists conducted for the Rockville-based American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on […]

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