Monday, June 19, 2006

Is there a disconnect between those that would like to fund basic research and a means of doing so?

NSF and other government and corporate-sponsored research support has dwindled and America's technical competitiveness is waning while simultaneously there are more wealthy people, both the Internet/technology super-wealthy and the generally comfortable with extra that would like to direct the funds to science and technology research.

What about a non-profit clearing house, like say, where anyone could post a project to solicit funding and any interested parties could pledge their tax-deductible financial sponsorship amount, anonymously or publicly. If the project receives the requisite sponsorship, it funds, otherwise it goes into the project archives as unfunded.

Unlike VC and angel investing, projects do not require commercialization or any financial return (10x or otherwise). The person doing the project must agree to make their materials and findings open to the public, indeed it is an objective of the OpenBasicResearch community to stimulate subsequent use and expansion of projects.

The projects are posted in standard formats with project plans and milestones, more usefully organized, presented and searchable than SourceForge for example. Each phase of the project funds separately per review of milestone deliverables by the sponsors. A phase may come back without further extension of the project; exploring areas that do not necessarily work out is equally valuable, knowledge is furthered with the publicly-posted deliverable.

The hypothesis is that there is a lack of model/mechanism for people to direct tax-deductible sponsorship to science and technology projects. could provide a means of directing capital to specific projects of interest whose results are made available to the global public.


DB said...


Your posts are great. Not sure why you don't get more comments. Hopefully this one starts a trend.

I am intrigued by your concept. Michael Milken did remarkable things for cancer research by introducing a new model: micro/mini-grants with disclosure and timeline requirements as I recall. Of course, he brought money with the idea.

The Creative Commons initiative might reveal some insights along these lines and provide the framework for the public disclosure and license. I recommend Lawrence Lessig's The Future of Ideas if you haven't already read it.

I would like to know more about the problem you see. Is your hypothesis that there are people with ideas not acting upon them because they do not have a way to be paid?

Keep up the good work.


LaBlogga said...

Thanks for the comment DB, in fact CC has now launched a Science Commons initiative to open source a variety of scientific research:

Anonymous said...

Great post... There definitely is a disconnect in research. Not only in funding but the collaboration of research information.

Research is so fragmented and redundant. Wish the institutions would just consolidate.

If there was a way to collectively share research... like crowd research. A concept that comes close is, but until more users join will we be able to see the true power of social research.