Crowdfunding has established itself as a research funding tool throughout Europe
22/07/2015
Rubén Permuy

One of the study managers, David Osimo, says that the new 2.0 scientific funding tools allows for "a more flexible selection of the areas that need funding, as they do not depend solely on public bodies, and they help support smaller projects which, given their size, are not likely to receive resources from highly competitive public calls, such as those of the EU." He also added that, "given the economic recession, institutions have fewer resources and they have to limit research priorities to their governmental interests." The Open Evidence manager says that, thanks to crowdfunding, "we can fund areas that raise awareness in society such as "research into health, which tends to be the most popular among people taking part in this type of crowdfunding campaign."

With regard to researchers needing to adapt to secure funding in society where virtual communication and social networks are increasingly important, David Osimo warns that, "we don't just need to research, we also need to communicate". "Communication still carries more weight when you have to convince people in the street to get a good number of small donations for a research project", reflected David Osimo, describing what "open science 2.0" is in relation to society through these dynamics created by social networks. "Researchers who have a better communication strategy will have greater possibilities of securing funding", he says.

The Open Evidence study concluded that although these new types of funding are complementary to traditional ones, in other words, participation in public calls, they also make the scientific community connect more effectively with society and the market. "New funding formulas enable us to see whether a subject generates interest in society, or not", says David Osimo.

The weak points of science 2.0 observed by the Open Evidence researchers include extensive fragmentation of crowdfunding platforms, even as far as "many universities are creating their own platform", says Osimo.

The study also showed that the majority of scientific projects that seek funding through new methods do not achieve their objective. Despite this, Osimo says that initiatives that did secure funding through these new methods constitute a new direction which means greater social participation when deciding the future of scientific research. As Open Evidence manager Osimo says, we need to bear in mind that currently, "researchers spend months preparing their proposals for large public callsto try and secure fundingwhich means a lot of paperwork and has a high failure rate, unlike the time needed on a crowdfunding campaign, which involves very simple procedures".

The final conclusion of the UOC spin-off company estimates that the future of scientific funding is experiencing the involvement of different agents, such as governments, philanthropy and society in general. "Unlike public calls, society in general will have a key role to play when deciding the research that needs to be carried out", says Osimo. "To secure philanthropy or crowdfunding, researchers need to get to know the world of the entrepreneur, they have to be convinced by the content and not waste time on bureaucracy", he says.


Open Evidence, the first UOC spin-off company

Open Evidence is the first UOC spin-off company and specializes in socio-economic and evidence-based techno-scientific research. Its team comprises lecturers, researchers and tutors with over twenty years' experience, who offer consultancy services and conduct research using data analysis.

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