Monday, October 31, 2011

Crowd Funding: the Grants of the Future?

Internet crowd-funding campaigns are all the rage right now. If you don't already know, crowd-funding is a process where a person or collective group posts a proposed project (be it musical, theatrical, or educational) on a credited website, such as Amazon's or, in the hopes that web-surfers will donate money to the project. There is usually a time horizon on the person's ability to raise their project monetary goal, and contributors to the project are often rewarded with gifts for their donations.

Traditionally, scientists fund their research through grants or fellowships. However, crowd-funding may be the new alternative approach. Crowd-funding is similar to grants in that it is funded by the general public (i.e. - several grants are funded with tax payer money). However, through crowd-funding, the public is made aware of and has a stake in the research that they are donating to. Scientists may be able to form a better connection with the general public through internet publicity...why not try out crowd-funding? This was the idea of Jai and Jarrett (of UCSB) who started the #SciFund Challenge, a project that brings together scientists from all over the globe to raise research money through crowd-funding. Check out their blog here:

I was excited about the #SciFund Challenge, especially because I had heard of successful crowd-funding campaigns for other liberal arts projects. I signed up immediately, and I am pleased to announce that all projects go live tonight on! Please check out all the awesome projects and donate any amount possible to those you find intriguing. Below is the promotional video for my campaign, please enjoy:


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