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Scientists playing to the crowd to try to fund next big discovery

posted Jul 21, 2014, 12:17 AM by Siamak Ebarhimi

In over three decades of studying ferns, Duke University professor Kathleen Pryer has received her share of grant money. But for her newest project, she’s getting help from a retired nurse in Canada and a 17-year-old in Arkansas.
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It’s her first foray into the world of crowdfunding, the practice of using the Internet to raise relatively small amounts of money from a lot of people to finance a project. It’s departure from the normal sources of funding for scientific research, chiefly industry, government and philanthropies.CrowdFunding marketing

Outside of science, it’s been successful for such projects as developing video games and other consumer products, publishing books and making films and other entertainment programs. A campaign to finance a movie sequel to the cult TV show “Veronica Mars” pulled in $2 million in less than a day, eventually gathering more than $5.7 million in 30 days.Kickstarter Marketing

But “science has yet to gain Veronica Mars status,” said Jeanne Garbarino, director of science outreach at Rockefeller University in New York, who has used crowdfunding. Instead, scientific projects tend to be far more modest, generally raising just thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.crowdfunding websites

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By David Khorram