Science crowdfunding on the web is exploding with sites like Microryza, Petridish, and Cancer Research UK (which regularly brings in tens of thousands of pounds for projects). Now #SciFund, the largest science crowdfunding derby on the web is back, baby, for round 2. #SciFund is unique in that its purpose isn't just to crowdfund research, but to change academic culture and create better ties between scientists and the world around them. Indeed, after round 1, we did a number of fancy-pants analyses showing how scientists doing outreach work were going to be better able to use crowdfunding. Or just get the gestalt message from this post on Dr. Zen trying to become the Amanda Palmer of Science. But the real fun and joy of #SciFund is to see the videos these passionate scientists have made about their work... [more inside]
The #SciFund Challenge is a new project for scientists interested in coupling science and society through funding. There are a ton of cool projects - from studies of zombie fish to vaccine distribution in the developing world to some mefite yahoo working in kelp forests. And, of course, duck penises (nsfw?). The passion of the researchers is huge. And ways they're reaching out to a public audience is fascinating. The whole thing has the potential to change the often mysterious science funding process for the better and reshape the science ecosystem, even if just a little. Will it work? Who knows! It's an experiment!