Crowdfunding for science has arrived at UBC!! We are proud to be the very first project to seek funding in this way, and as part of our commitment to engagement of the public we are proud to open the first crowdfunding project blog at UBC!
Some people may be wondering, 'why pursue crowdfunding at all? Thats not the way that science usually goes about doing things?' The truth is that anyone out of the grant writing process has only a glimpse of what really goes into being an academic. Ask any university professor what the worst part of their job is and there is a very high chance they will say "grant writing."
But an alternative exists! The future is now and it is crowdfunding! No longer does the latest trends in research need to be decided by bureaucrats and institutions - the power is in the hands of the people! With crowdfunding the most exciting, cutting edge and applicable research can rise above the rest, where in grant writing only the safest and least risky projects stood any chance of funding. No longer is locking oneself up for weeks to write a soul crushing proposal twisting your original idea to fit some grant organizations criteria a necessary step to doing research! Instead researchers can learn to engage the public, learn to make videos and appealing websites, and most of all learn to communicate with the public.
And this is the most important part of this project - not the accumulation of funds to run experiments but the communication of ideas and the opening up of our research and ideas which have traditionally only been known to those within academia. There doesn't need to be a total public-academic divide (given to fully understand many things you need to go to school for it) rather it is the way that academia has been built up over the centuries. And academics have become too familiar with only talking to each other. People can benefit from the ideas floating around academia, but they have no means to access them. It's time to give people a chance to learn our ideas, not to compromise the academic dialogue that exists, but to broaden our use of language, bring down the wall of jargon and engage people. And if we can somehow succeed in increasing the public understanding of the unconscious, ouija boards and ideomotor actions, then regardless of how our funding campaign goes, we will have been successful.
So lets recap: crowdfunding is the future; crowdfunding allows researchers to pursue interesting subjects; crowdfunding encourages researchers to learn how to communicate their ideas to a larger audience; crowdfunding improves the public understanding of science. I think the future is looking good.