Can the crowd help fund your research?

Crowdfunding has been used to raise money for countless endeavors, from Oscar-nominated films to computer games.

It is also being used to support research projects.  The team at UBC’s Visual Cognition Lab has harnessed crowdfunding to further their research into the subconscious mind.

The research

Every day, people make thousands of unconscious movements and decisions.  UBC psychology researchers Docky Duncan, Professor Ron Rensink and Dr. Helene Gauchou set out to study what effect the subconscious has on our lives.  To do this, they use a Ouija board to tap the subconscious mind and examine responses and movements.  As Docky explains, it is difficult to get this type of research funded.

“Many people see our work as quite different from mainstream research.  But on the other hand, we have been getting a lot of media coverage and interest from people.  Many saw it as cool stuff and wanted to learn more – we found it difficult to attract funding for the research but on the other hand it appealed to many people.”


The fundraising

Docky’s team turned to crowdfunding as a way to raise money.  They put the project on Microryza and raised enough to continue with phase two of the project.

“A lot of researchers aren’t keen on getting into the grant writing process unless there is a good chance of their research getting accepted.  For us, with this type of research, it would be a long shot.  We don’t fit into any existing paradigm.  Crowdfunding was the ideal answer.”

Engage the crowd

A big part of crowdfunding is engaging potential donors, by making the research and its results available.

“This whole project has highlighted the way we need to put our results out there, and made us think about how to communicate the research by bridging the gap between academia and public.  We have to publicize our research to attract the funding. Those who donate will want to see results.”

How you can do it

What type of research lends itself to crowdfunding?

“There needs to be public interest in the project.  Our study is unique and many people see using Ouija boards to study the unconscious mind as very interesting. ”

Interested in crowdfunding to help support your research? The Crowd Funding Guide has the latest news and tips and here is a list of websites you can use to get you started.


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