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Supporting Science With Your Own Wallet

By February 27, 2018No Comments

Intense competition for scarce federal research funding means that some great ideas won’t make the cut.

Labfundr, a Canadian crowdfunding platform (like Kickstarter) that caters exclusively to science and research, hopes to bring some of those great but unfunded ideas to the public to appeal for donations. The idea is that individual citizens can each make a small financial contribution, but that the effect is multiplied by attracting a large crowd of donors.

Perhaps the most well-known science crowdfunding campaign was 2014’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraising effort that went viral on social media and raised over $100 million in a month for a little-known disease. The pool of crowdfunded money is typically much smaller, but it could help fund a proof of concept to make the project more compelling for larger grants.

But what are the potential benefits and pitfalls of democratizing science funding?