Scientist Fund Raise for Research Online

Innovative Ways to Fund Scientific Research

In May of 2010, biologists Jennifer Calkins and Jennifer Gee at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA wanted to begin collecting data about the least-studied quail species in the Callipepla genus, but neither had the principal investigator status required to apply for a National Science Foundation grant. With tightened university research budgets and low funding for federal financing agencies, Calkins and Gee hoped that the generosity of the public would step up to the plate. They decided to try Kickstarter.com, an innovative website that helps fund and promote projects through the public, to bankroll their research.

The biologists designed and offered quail T-shirts, trading cards, postcards, quail leg bands, books, prints, illustrations, adopting and naming a quail, and a guided tour for pledges and donations. Their efforts raised $4, 873, which will pay for travel, food, and lab equipment when they leave to study quail this fall in Mexico. Websites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and RocketHub are becoming an increasingly popular way to pay for creative projects — although financing scientific research with the help of the general public is a revolutionary new endeavor.

The biologists designed and offered quail T-shirts, trading cards, postcards, quail leg bands, books, prints, illustrations, adopting and naming a quail, and a guided tour for pledges and donations. Their efforts raised $4, 873, which will pay for travel, food, and lab equipment when they leave to study quail this fall in Mexico. Websites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and RocketHub are becoming an increasingly popular way to pay for creative projects — although financing scientific research with the help of the general public is a revolutionary new endeavor.

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