Adventures in Science Microfinance – Petridish.org

While I’ve been more persistent in noting crowdsourced funding efforts for science-oriented projects like The Rap Guide to Evolution DVD or MATTER, there have been efforts in more science and/or technology-oriented projects.  I noted a few of them back in 2010, but thanks to this Tweet…

I found out about Petridish.  The project is in beta, and focused on funding researchers  with an institutional affiliation, but aren’t particular if applicants are students, post-doc or faculty.  Funding amounts could run in excess of $50,000, but organizers are looking more at $5,000-$15,000.  Unlike the other science and technology crowd funding efforts I have seen (see previous post), this one deals with rewards in a similar fashion to the broader crowdfunding sites like Crowdfunder and Kickstarter.

I would be interested in seeing (or if I had more spare time than what’s needed to blog) some data on the outputs of these various science and technology oriented crowd funders.  Who are they reaching?  Do they fully fund the efforts?  How effective is the scientific review?  While the efforts of this kind of funding can be impressive, they aren’t going to replace significant percentages of the traditional agency research and development budgets.  It may seem small potatoes, but it would be nice to make sure even the small ones are properly prepared and tasty.