Crowdfunding a Cure?
I know Fridays have generally been reserved for personal posts, and while those will be coming back next week, I wanted to take some time to talk about something interesting happening in the medical universe that may play a role in the fight for a cure–the idea of Crowdfunding.
If you’re familiar with sites like Kickstarter, you already know where this is going. Crowdfunding works so that people who have an idea ( be it for a movie, a toy, an invention, or creative work) pitch it to an audience online, and the public can choose whether or not to put money towards the idea. The creator sets a fundraising goal, and if it’s met, they keep the cash. If not, all of the funding is given back to the donors.
There have been many successful kickstarter projects, from videogames to documentaries to web applications, and they’re all projects that may never have seen the light of day otherwise. In fact, the success has attracted the eyes of the medical world, as medical devices, apps, and research projects are being pitched to possible donors.
This begs the question: could crowdfunding somehow lead us to a cure?
Picture this: Currently, scientists can only get funding in a few ways. One of these ways is through a charity, the other through government grants, and occasionally through the use of pharmacuetical dollars. Crowdfunding changes all of this. Now, if a scientist can’t get funding to back their project, but has concievable proof of the effectiveness or validity of the research, they could go try to raise funding from average citizens like you and me who believe in the project.
Now, there are definitely some pratfalls that go along with this. Fraud could become a much bigger issue, and there will probably be quite a few snake-oil salesmen making the rounds as this type of funding gets off the ground. Many of the projects may also not provide much useful information ( such is the case with the trial and error nature of science).
However, in an effort to keep all of you informed of the ongoing efforts for a cure, we felt we needed to discuss a bit about crowdfunding efforts that are slowly cropping up. Is this a viable way to move forward with scientific research? Could it help in the fight for a cure?
Let us know what you think below.
Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.net