Funding science in the current economic climate is tough, and the economy doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon. At Cancer Research UK, we rely solely on the generosity of the public to keep funding cutting edge science, and we’re always overwhelmed by how far people go to help us. Even so, we have had to make some difficult decisions about what new research we can and can’t afford to fund. In the midst of this squeeze, a new buzzword has started to be bandied around: ‘crowdfunding’.
Offering the promise of cash direct from the public to scientists – this new phenomenon has been touted as a way to ‘turn the taps back on’ for research where funding has dried up. The public too may like the idea of choosing exactly what science is supported, perhaps to help a loved one or to support work in their local area.
Given the recent media coverage about one such enterprise – a project called iCancer that aims to support cancer research in Sweden – and the enquires we’ve had as a result, we thought it was time to look at the whole phenomenon of ‘crowdfunding’.