Crowdfunding For Scientific Research


Crowdfunding has reached the point where even scientific research is pulling down dollars to have critical needs met. The only problem is this: are the research projects being funded actually going to provide the scientific and medical communities with real results?

An example of this is a recent successful crowdfunding campaign by the Beckley Foundation. Based in the UK, they raised nearly $80,000 to get a set of MRI images of the brain so that we can know how the mind is affected by LSD. Is this really where we need to spend our money today?

Every Scientific Field Has Found Crowdfunding Success

Studying LSD’s effects on the brain might be questionable research to some, but what about how certain trees are able to withstand drought conditions when compared to other trees? Or if there are exoplanets in the depths of the universe? Or encouraged people to try to solve decades-old mathematics problems that have limited numerous scientific applications?

The fact is that we’ve got to take the “bad” with the “good” when it comes to scientific research that is funded through crowdfunding. Maybe some of the projects are a joke to most people, but sites like Walacea, Petridish, and Experiment are proving that there is a real desire by the general public to help be part of the next great scientific innovation.

Is Scientific Crowdfunding Morally Wrong?

Many research projects are funded by government grants today, but it hasn’t always been that way. Early in the 20th century, universities funded research through donations and tuition payments. When those donations dried up, it wasn’t uncommon to seek sponsorships for the research being conducted. Imagine having this come your way: “This new cancer treatment, sponsored by Intel, is promising.”

The fact is that researchers have always looked for alternative funding efforts to make sure they could focus on innovation. Now that taxpayer dollars are shrinking because deficits are rising, the government isn’t handing out grants. The percentage of funding as dropped from 30% to 10% on average for research projects. That cash has to be replaced somehow.

Crowdfunding provides a legitimate way for scientific research to continue. Just remember that some people might want to know how LSD affects the mind more than they want to know the number of exoplanets that exist with a 100,000 light year radius.