Crowd-funding is gearing significance or can say popularity in the field of clinical research or medical research as a whole.
The crowd funding phenomenon was born about a decade ago, inspired by artists to finance independent films and by charities to keep struggling nonprofits afloat. Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs took the leap to launch start-up businesses. Very recently, a growing number of scientists have turned to crowdfunding as a supplement to government grants.
So how would a researcher start at it?
He pr she should start by selecting a website. But the confusion is that there are more than 800 crowdfunding websites, but only a few are eager for funding scientific research. Some of the sites focus mainly on specific diseases or new drugs, while others opt for young scientists. A number of sites invite clinical trials which have regulatory approval but no capital. The donations might be of any size, when others tend to fund more expensive clinical trials.
The mainstream crowdfunding hubs Indiegogo and Kickstarter had some limited success with financing science projects,but it's believable that a separate platform is necessary for medical research.
Indiegogo and Kickstarter were designed for creative artists, and hence worked well for the creative processes.
Perhaps crucially, Luan and co-founder Cindy Wu are young scientists themselves - former University of Washington graduate students .
After a poll the professors found that everyone was irritated with the obstacles associated with the highly competitive funding process which complies 80% of rejected proposals. The irony is that the researcher spends 12 weeks a year writing proposals, and the average age of a grant recipient in biomedicine is 42.
Could crowdfunding transform scientific research?
Theoretically crowdfunding could be a viable model for gearing up funding and media attention for small and early stage ideas and high-risk proposals that the current grant systems offered by many institutions.
It's absolute that although he sees the crowd funding potential have a much bigger and more transforming impact on medical research.
That was the original platform for value for scientists of all types and backgrounds. But, nowadays, the situation has become so extreme that projects and grants that would fund are no longer getting the backing they actually deserve.
Basically we are talking about the slack and devastation caused by the sequester and budget cuts. The same goes the entire history of federally funded science.
Generally there is a long way to go before crowdfunding can actually match the scale of conventionally funded medical research.
Crowdfunding for medical research has some limitations, though. It lacks the traditional government grants and bears new liabilities. In practice there are very few protections to ensure that donations are spent for the said purposes and that guarantee donor dollars are going to the benefit of science. In case of government grants, university admins carefully review and sign off on applications to ensure the terms of the award can be honored.
The main issue about crowdfunded research is the lack of traditional peer review. It’s extremely difficult to secure the baseline sponsoring that researchers count on, and there is certainly the eagerness of trying creative, alternative sources of funding. The peer review is a good feature of government grants. With clinical research, the government funding infrastructure comes with some basic oversights, safety concerns , internal checks and balances, and continuous follow-up by review boards.
In our next article we would be continuing with the other aspects of Crowdfunding. We would brief about how scientific crowdfunding is different from crowdfunding creative objects. Can Crowdfunding actually transform the scientific research or the clinical research in whole.
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