It’s no secret that funding for science projects and research is paltry these days, and what little funding exists is subject to the fickle vacillations and stubbornness of the federal government. So the mission-driven for-profit organization Experiment (formerly Microryza) has launched a platform for scientists and researchers around the globe to solicit funding, much in the style of Kickstarter.
Experiment notes that “our system for funding science is broken,” and that fewer than 15% of all proposals get backed, so they’re looking to democratize the process by launching a platform that supports “scientists for the people, by the people.” The process is pretty simple: researchers post projects in need of funding, and then spread the word, garnering financial support from anyone with a credit card and a yen to promote scientific discoveries. The project either reaches its goal or does—as with Kickstarter, the project must receive at least 100% of the funding goal (if it doesn’t, prospective backers aren’t charged). In return for successfully funding a project, backers get insights into the science and research, and updates about where exactly their money went. Unlike with Kickstarter, there are no tangible rewards for backers—the idea is that they’re financially supporting projects they want to see funded, and the scientists’ ability to perform the research is reward enough.