360° Coverage : Experiment Is Crowdfunding Science Projects, Just Don't Ask...

2 Updates
Experiment Is Crowdfunding Science Projects, Just Don't Ask Them To Find Bigfoot

Experiment Is Crowdfunding Science Projects, Just Don't Ask Them To Find Bigfoot

Feb 7 2014, 7:13pm CST | by

Cindy Wu was an undergraduate student at the University of Washington when she hit on a new way to reengineer an enzyme treatment for anthrax bacteria using a videogame. She eagerly approached her...

Filed under: news


36 weeks ago

Experiment Is Crowdfunding Science Projects, Just Don't Ask Them To Find Bigfoot

Feb 7 2014, 7:13pm CST | by

Cindy Wu was an undergraduate student at the University of Washington when she hit on a new way to reengineer an enzyme treatment for anthrax bacteria using a videogame. She eagerly approached her professor, asking how she could fund an experiment.

“Cindy, the system doesn’t fund people like you, my professor said,” Wu recalls. “It only funds tenured professors.” Still, Wu’s professor funneled some funds from his grant for Wu’s research which is currently being followed up by the Army. But the experience stuck and Wu, now 24 abandoned a promising academic career to found Experiment.com, a crowdfunding science experiment platform with fellow scientist cofounders Denny Luan and Skander Mzali.

Previously Microrgyza, the company launched fully as Experiment.com this week. Founded in 2012, the fledgling Y Combinator startup recently raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and angel investors.

While in beta Experiment funded over 80 projects in diverse topics ranging from cancer research to marine biology, raising over $600,000 from over 5,000 people individual citizens. Experiment takes a 5% fee on fully-funded projects.

Breast cancer researcher and cofounder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based Science Exchange, Inc., an online marketplace for scientific collaboration, Dr. Elizabeth Iorns used Experiment.com when she needed $10,000 to fund an experiment into a genetic mutation. Women with the BRCA gene mutation have an 80% risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, so Iorns wanted to run an experiment exploring how this gene is passed on in mice.

“I was very familiar with the traditional route of funding,” says Iorns. “But you spend so much time writing proposals and there’s such a small chance of them getting funded. Only 15% of grants get funded,” says Iorns. “Because I was no longer in academia and an adjunct professor I thought there would be even less chance,” she says, “and it takes them a year to give you the money.”

5 Of Experiment.com's Most Interesting Funded Projects

“I think the traditional model of scientists writing grants which are funded by taxpayers but that end up in journals behind a paywall is a really bad model for engaging the public,” she says, adding that since crowdfunding her experiment she’s had responses from people all over the world who have the BRAC gene.

Funders get access to discussions around how the experiment is going, called Lab Notes. “It’s publishing science in realtime,” says Wu.

“There’s a great level of engagement with the public and transparency,” agrees Iorns.

Worries that Experiment is trying to replace peer reviewed science seem outlandish. Most projects are looking for small amounts of money for experiments they can point to as successful when going after a big grant from the National Science Foundation or National Institute of Health.

“We’ve had people submit projects that are not research, so we don’t accept projects that are not answering a research question. Also, occasionally researchers do not want to reveal their identity,” says Wu. “The community is built on transparency and trust, so all researchers must reveal their identity. We also get the expected projects like searching for big foot or ghosts. We don’t accept those projects.”

“The NIH is inherently conservative,” says Joshua Graff Zivin, a professor of economics at UC San Diego, who has published papers on peer review reform. “If you have an idea that s a bit out there it’s hard to get funded, sometimes for good reason, sometimes not.”

It’s these bolder projects that Experiment is eyeing. “It is difficult for people to understand that $2,500 – $25,000 can make a difference in science, but we’ve proven with 85 different projects that it can.

“It is difficult to think that Experiment.com will be bring in more money than the $30B NIH budget. My response is just watch us,” says Wu.

Source: Forbes Business


7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore


7 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and M ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Budapest: the 'startup' capital of Eastern Europe
Budapest, Oct 21 (IANS/EFE) Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and NASA all have one thing in common - the fact that they distributed live videos on Ustream, the app of the Hungarian startup that represents Budapest's potential to become a technology hotspot of Europe's eastern region.
Developing countries participate in half of world trade
Geneva, Oct 21 (IANS/EFE) The participation of developing countries in world trade accounts for nearly half of global trade, according to a report by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
India showcases IPL as driver of economic development
United Nations, Oct 21 (IANS) The success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in cricket embodies the emergence of sports as a global industry that promotes economic development and job creation in developing countries, India told the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Monday.
Cuba dispatches two new medical brigades to Africa
Havana, Oct 21 (IANS/EFE) Cuban President Raul Castro has announced that two health brigades from the island will be dispatched to Liberia and Guinea Conakry this week to collaborate in the fight against the Ebola virus disease epidemic.

Latest from the Network

1,074 new dengue cases in Chinese province
Beijing, Oct 18 (IANS) China's Guangdong province has reported 1,047 new cases of dengue fever, health authorities said Saturday. Six people have already died in Guangdong -- five in Guangzhou and one in adjacent...
Read more on Business Balla
Blake Lively 'always' wanted to be mum
Blake Lively has ''always'' wanted to be a mother. The 27-year-old actress is expecting her first child with husband Ryan Reynolds and she admits she's been dreaming of this moment since she was a youngster. Speaking...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Kris Jenner 'torn apart' by Bruce's new relationship
Kris Jenner feels ''torn apart and angry'' that Bruce Jenner is dating her former assistant. The 58-year-old matriarch split from the 64-year-old Olympic gold medalist last October following 22-years of marriage but is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won't move to France
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini doesn't want to move to her husband's home country of France. The 'X Factor' judge, 31, who comes from Newcastle, is adamant she won't be relocating any time soon to suit her new spouse Jean-...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Lance Bass sets wedding date
Lance Bass has set a date for his wedding. The former *NSYNC singer and his partner Michael Turchin, who have been dating for two-and-a-half years, are to tie the knot on December 20, 2014, a representative for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Nepal avalanche toll reaches 39
Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded...
Read more on Politics Balla
Jake Gyllenhaal says society is complicit in 'nightcrawling'
Jake Gyllenhaal says almost everybody in society ought to relate to his new movie 'Nightcrawlers'. The eagerly-awaited film concerns those people who monitor police scanners and then race to crime scenes to film eye-...
Read more on Movie Balla
India eves look for first win in AFC U-16 qualifiers
Dhaka, Oct 18 (IANS) India will hope to register their first win of the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers when they take on hosts Bangladesh in a crucial encounter at the...
Read more on Sport Balla
Moyes mulling return to management
London, Oct 18 (IANS) Former Manchester United manager David Moyes said that he is ready to revive his managerial career six months after being sacked by the 'Red Devils'. "I am ready to return. I have enjoyed the...
Read more on Sport Balla
Ebola fears loom over Ghana hosting AFCON
Accra (Ghana), Oct 18 (IANS) The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) cautioned the government Saturday against hosting the 2015 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), despite a request by the Confederation of African Football (...
Read more on Sport Balla