As if coming up with a great research project and determining the best way to study your subject isn’t challenging enough, scientists also face the sometimes even more difficult task of funding their projects. Writing grants and seeking donors can be just as time intensive as planning the research itself.
Petridish.org hopes to help ease that burden. Think of it like Kickstarter, but instead of raising money for graphic novels, interpretative dances and silk screen shirts, Petridish applicants are looking to study exomoons, analyze algae spores, and decode hyena calls.
Donation minimums vary from project to project, with some starting as low as $5. Like Kickstarter, supporters are charged their chosen amount only if the project reaches its funding goal. Current projects are capped at $15,000, and with the site still in beta, there are a limited number of projects to get behind.
What’s in it for backers? Souvenirs from expeditions, naming rights, and published acknowledgements are offered. But the best reward surely comes from seeing a project followed through and knowing you played a part in the discoveries that result. This is yet another great way the internet lets ordinary citizens like me to be a part of making science happen!