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Microryza brings crowd-funding to scientific research

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April 13, 2012

The newly-launched Microryza website brings crowd-funding to scientific research

The newly-launched Microryza website brings crowd-funding to scientific research

Crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter have proven popular for groups and individuals looking to get a consumer product, movie, music or video game project off the ground. Now a group of researchers and scientists is adopting a similar crowd-funding model to raise money for scientific research projects. The Microryza website, which launched this week, lets the public get behind research they care about and maybe help it get out of the lab.

Microryza is named after a microscopic fungi called Mycorrhizae that lives in the roots of plants. Just as the fungi can support an entire ecosystem of roots in sufficient numbers, the team behind Microryza hopes that a community of individuals will support the development of new ideas and discoveries.

Unlike Kickstarter projects that can offer backers a tangible product for their support, a lot of Microryza projects can only offer the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get for aiding in something worthwhile. Although, due to the nature of research, no guarantees in terms of results can made. But like Kickstarter, no money changes hands until the project’s target goal is reached.

Importantly, the researchers retain 100 percent ownership of their project and its results and get to choose how much material they disclose. While backers will generally like to keep apprised of project developments and findings, researchers aren’t obliged to provide updates. Those worried about getting scooped by a competitor will need to find a balance regarding just how much data they make publicly available and how much they keep to themselves.

The site has already attracted a number of projects, from excavating and bringing the bones of a triceratops to Seattle’s Burke Museum, to exploring the evolution of butterfly bushes, with backers able to get on board for as little as US$1.

There is a long history of scientific breakthroughs coming from surprising sources, so here’s hoping that Microryza proves fertile ground for some worthy discoveries.

Source: Microryza via ubergizmo

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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1 Comment

Awesome article, thanks for helping spread the word guys!

We believe the system for funding research and supporting new types of research is broken. Basically, if we want to see some new changes in the world, we've got to support some new ideas. With the power of crowd and with sites like this spreading the word, we think we can do it.

Bobby Farrington
16th April, 2012 @ 03:15 pm PDT
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