SNSF supports crowdfunding for smaller research projects

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The Science Booster channel on the “wemakeit” platform helps innovative research ideas gain funding and visibility. The SNSF is now funding individual projects with up to 5000 francs.

Crowdfunding enables researchers to realise innovative ideas. Since 2017, the “wemakeit” platform has been specifically supporting researchers in their search for funding with its Science Booster channel. Employment at an academic institution is not a participation requirement. What counts is the idea and the power of persuasion.

150,000 francs support

As of October 2022, the SNSF will support the platform with a total of 150,000 Swiss francs. Most of this amount will go to around 20 projects, for which the SNSF will double the sum raised through crowdfunding. This additional or matching fund amounts to a maximum of 5000 francs per project. The remaining funds flow into workshops, communication measures or support for project leaders.

Crowdfunding for research projects is in line with important SNSF goals: it gives early-career researchers the opportunity to gain initial experience with relatively small, short-term projects. In addition, the fact that researchers do not need to be employed by a higher education institution helps to promote diversity in research. And a further advantage: by seeking funding, project leaders enter into an in-depth dialogue with the public.

Framing ideas convincingly

"Crowdfunding is a powerful tool for bringing research projects closer to a lay audience," says Mirko Bischofberger, co-founder and manager of the platform. To encourage the public to fund their project, the researchers need to formulate their scientific ideas convincingly and make them understandable to a broader audience. The platform operators offer four full-day workshops to support researchers in achieving their communication goals and actively provide advice to ongoing projects.

59 innovative projects have already been completed with the help of Science Booster since 2017. In total, members of the public have donated over one million francs. New project ideas can be submitted via the platform on a continuous basis. The participation requirements are also listed there.