Is Crowdfunding and Science a Great Match?

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For many years, the world of science and its interaction with the general public has been rather limited. Reports of scientific finds may filter through the news, but that was the extent of what most people thought about. Thanks to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, however, science is getting a new breath of life.

That’s because the public is able to directly fund the next great scientific discovery.

Why Has the General Public Been Excluded From Science?

Academics have often avoided engaging the public with science. Some call the interactions with people a distraction from scientific principles. Others believe that public input can hinder productivity. With government funding decreasing, however, the scientific community needed to find alternative funding sources so that their research continue. If governments aren’t providing money, is there any place else to turn?

This is where Kickstarter comes into help. More than $435 billion is spent on research and development in the United States annually. Two-thirds of that comes from private sources or philanthropic organizations. Thanks to the public exposure that scientists like Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson have generated with hit televisions shows, the average household wants to get some skin in the scientific field.

Why Choose Crowdfunding For Research Money?

The projects that you’re going to find on Kickstarter don’t necessarily fit into areas that have clear regulations. You might find a project that would want to alter the DNA of a plant. Government regulators wouldn’t know which department this R&D would fit into, but with crowdfunding, this determination no longer matters.

Then there are the projects that look to mine on the moon. The few treaties that governments have signed regarding territory outside of the planet Earth haven’t even addressed the issue. Crowdfunding helps to eliminate the red tape rather effectively.

What you will find is that the scientific community is getting more exposure today through crowdfunding than they have before in the modern era. This means you’ll find scientists managing their hair styles and video production values as much as they manage their research. Although that might be a change for many, it’s still an exciting change that may lead us into a new age of scientific discoveries that are funding a few dollars at a time.