The Boston Globe reported yesterday on a growing move toward crowdfunding in the sciences. (You can find a link in the sidebar “The wider conversation” on this page. In hard copy, see the front page for Tuesday, September 3: “Scientists call on the crowd for funding.”) Most often the fund-raising supports pilot projects and smaller grants, but the report mentions one successful proposal with a budget of $1.5 million. Beyond the familar Kickstarter and IndieGogo, science-specific sites like Microryza and #SciFundChallenge are starting to appear. There is some intriguing potential for independent scholars here.
One especially interesting observation is that “the outreach is itself rewarding.” Specialists seeking funding must explain their work – and its significance – to a broad public. Sounds like a creative way to build bridges between academe and everyone else.