Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo win hands down as the crowdfunding platforms that get the most attention and mind share of entrepreneurs and creative types. But they’re not the only options out there–a slew of new, niche crowdfunding sites let the masses invest in everything from high-level academic research to neighborhood garden projects.
Sites like Microryza, Petridish, and Iamscientist now offer crowdfunding platforms exclusively for scientific research. Academics post their proposed research with a budget goal, and ask the public to fund projects that most appeal to them, side stepping the often lengthy process of applying for grant money through academic channels.
Critics of the scientific research crowdfunding model argue that the denominations earned from crowdfunding on sites like Microryza and Petridish add up to only small change–and they might be right. Government research grants range anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000; crowdfunded projects range from closer to $500 to $5,000.