Conservation biologist Jai Ranganathan ’97 discusses the idea of “selling science” in a conversation with Joe Palca of NPR. Ranganathan is one of the founders of the #SciFund Challenge, an experiment on whether scientists can use crowd-funding to fund their research.
“People say, you know, what can they do with $5,000? I’m an ecologist. You can do a lot of things for $5,000,” says Jai Ranganathan. He’s with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, and he also co-founded the SciFund Challenge, an effort to encourage scientists to crowd fund.
He says for an ecologist, $5,000 would pay for several months of field work. “Not all science is, you know, sending a rocket to Mars,” Ranganathan says.
Critics of crowd funding worry that it will turn science into a popularity contest. They say, “‘Only the panda bear research is going to get funded. My very serious research will never get funded this way.’ That’s the worry,” says Ranganathan. “And, in fact, it’s dead wrong.”
Image: from #SciFund Challenge website
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- The #SciFund Challenge
- Curiouser and Curioser, a science podcast by Jai Ranganathan
- Jai Ranganathan speaks at the Open Science Summit (video)
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