Science Crowdfunding Outside North America

Science Crowdfunding Outside North America
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The use of donation-based crowdfunding to fund scientific research is a relatively new phenomenon, and most of the focus has tended to fall on U.S.-based portals like Microryza, Rockethub’s partnerships with Popular Science, the SciFund Challenge, and University Tech Vault, university crowdfunding sites like the University of Virginia’s and Arizona State’s USEED portals, and specialty portals like Consano.

Science crowdfunding is catching on in the rest of the world, though, providing ever more outlets for innovators to fund their research.

Cancer Research UK’s MyProjects webpage is the most consistently successful science crowdfunding portal to date, with several million dollars raised for projects supported by the charity since its inception, and actually predates most of the other science crowdfunding websites.  Pozible, the leading crowdfunding portal in Australia, recently launched a research category that already features projects from a number of Australian universities.  It emerged out of Research My World, a pilot research crowdfunding effort on Pozible led by Deb Verhoeven and her colleagues at Deakin University that succeeded in generating $50,000 for 6 research projects earlier this year.

In continental Europe, several science- and technology-specific crowdfunding portals have launched in recent months, including Science Starter, TechnoFunding, Inject-Power, and Funds4Research.  Spanish portal I Love Science and UK-based CrowdCure, for their part, have yet to launch, but may well add to the European science crowdfunding ecosystem in the coming months.  Despite their novelty, these portals have had notable successes.  In its only project to date, for example, Funds4Research succeeded in raising nearly € 45,000 to support research into Lowe Syndrome, an ultra-rare genetic disease.

In short, science crowdfunding is going global.  This is a welcome development for at least three reasons.

  1. First, the more science crowdfunding portals we have competing in this space, the sooner we will discover the most effective model(s) to crowdfund scientific research.
  2. Second, to the extent that donations to crowdfunding projects are in part driven by geographic proximity to the creators, hosting projects on local portals that are familiar to both researchers and donors in countries other than the United States is likely to boost donations and increase the overall amount of resources directed to scientific research, which benefits us all.
  3. Finally, the greater the number and variety of science crowdfunding portals, the more likely it is that potential contributors worldwide will become familiar with the concept of science crowdfunding.  This should increase the ability of researchers based in one country to attract donations from contributors in other countries, thereby making it easier to crowdfund the larger amounts of money needed to run more expensive kinds of research projects like clinical trials.

If you know of any other science crowdfunding portals, let me know!  Leave a comment or contact me by email at nick@nickdragojlovic.com or on Twitter @Science_Menu.

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