Monday, January 19, 2015

Crowd Funding in research

Nowadays, crowd funding is paid attention by entrepreneurs. Kickstarter is a popular website in which you can ask for money to worldwide investors. It is obvious that successful collection of the money is not easy. Nevertheless, not a few venture projects have launched through cloud funding.

Crowd funding is not limited to the purpose for business. Some researchers are eager to gain budget to achieve their goal of research.

The Washington Post: Crowdfunding propels scientific research

Previously, most of the researchers were given budget using official funds provided by the government. Developed countries had a considerable amount of budget for developing newly scientific research in many regions. Their money originated from the tax. Recently, however, many nations are suffering from the economic crisis. Taxpayers also have become strict to the expenditure determined by the government. Therefore, it is more difficult for researchers to rely on official funds to proceed their research than in the past.

Instead, some researchers are keen to advertise their products for gathering money from companies and investors. Crowd funding is one option for this purpose. Some scientists were successful to attract the interests of many people.

The movement of crowd funding for researchers also emerged  in Japan. Tomohiko Sato, a geologist in Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), won the budget to perform excavation in China via Academist, the first Japanese crowd funding site for researchers.

Academist (in Japanese)

Since Obokata fabrication case, many Japanese scientists have lost reputation, and are deemed questionable in terms of the research skills. It is important for researchers not only to engage in research sincerely but also to explain their appropriateness broadly. Crowd funding is consistent with this policy because it is essential for successful funding that many audiences admit the value of the research.

Crowd funding is advantageous for young and ambitious researchers, because administrators of conventional official funds tend to avoid risks.

On the other hand, the contents that are attractive and easy to visualize are likely to be approved for crowd funding. There are much fundamental, but indispensable research for further development of science, most of which are difficult to understand for non-experts. Such research would be not focused. As a result, researchers who perform only momentary and superficial research are advantageous.

In my opinion, researchers, including me, have to explain the value of own research precisely with smooth words. Those who can make a conversation only to other experts will be perished. On the other hand, there is a necessity to invest resource in some research that is doubtful to gain profit in a short term. Innovation is always not predictable.

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