Crowdfunding at UofSC

As competition for research funding continues to grow, the Office of the Vice President for Research strives to equip our researchers with as many tools as possible to stay on the leading edge of their fields. To that end, our office has developed a new and exciting initiative to use crowdfunding model to seek funding where it otherwise might be hard to raise. We especially recommend this model for researchers seeking relatively small amounts of money (around $7,500 or less) for which there may not be available federal or foundational funding, but the necessary sums are too large to raise independently.

To encourage use of this new technology, the Office of the Vice President for Research is excited to announce a new collaboration with the crowdfunding site Experiment.com. Our office is prepared to offer a 50% funding match for all projects selected for funding through Experiment.com. This means that researchers will be responsible for raising half of their total project goal, and our office will provide the additional 50% of funds needed to meet that goal. For example, if the total project cost is $5000, the crowdfunding site needs to generate only $2500, and we will provide matching funds.

Please read on for more details about the crowdfunding concept, the dollar-for-dollar funding match and links to resources to help you get started with your crowdfunding project through Experiment.com.

What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a method used to finance projects by raising small amounts of money from a large network of individuals online. The relatively new concept of crowdfunding asks family, friends and the public to contribute whatever amount of money they feel is appropriate to a project which they deem valuable. All of the small, individual donations are added together until a set funding goal is reached. Crowdfunding provides the dollars needed to undertake valuable projects that might otherwise not have come to fruition, bringing fundraisers’ ideas into reality and providing contributors with a direct connection to the work they have helped to make happen.

Where should I go to seek crowdfunding for my research project?
After examining the options available, our office has decided to work with Experiment.com. Created by a team of researchers from the University of Washington, the Experiment.com team is familiar with the workings of research at major universities, and has a proven track record of success, funding 85 projects for a total of $600,000 since starting the site in 2012.

Through our collaboration with Experiment.com, the Office of the Vice President for Research will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for any project that is selected and funded through Experiment.com. We are pleased to extend this opportunity to all USC faculty, postdoctoral scholars, undergraduate and graduate students. This commitment demonstrates our strong belief in USC’s researchers: if the public, including our alumni, is willing to support your project, this office will contribute half of the funds you need to make it a reality.

I want to try Experiment.com. How should I get started?
Experiment.com accepts proposals on a rolling basis, and has laid the groundwork to answer your questions about how they operate, how crowd funding works, and how to make this option work best for you and your potential projects. 

To seek matching funds through the Office of Research, you must submit an abstract and project budget through USCeRA before submission to Experiment.com. When submitting through USCeRA select "internal request" and "crowdfunding" from the dropdown list. For any questions regarding USCeRA, please contact the USCeRA administrator. For questions about Experiment.com or crowdfunding in general, contact Forrest Clonts in the Office of Research.

For detailed information on submitting a proposal through Experiment.com, please explore the helpful resources available through their site. 

Experiment.com home - https://experiment.com/home

How Experiment.com works - https://experiment.com/how-it-works

Frequently Asked Questions - https://experiment.com/faq

Starter Guide for Researchers - https://experiment.com/start/getting_started

We are excited about this opportunity to support USC's researchers, and look forward to receiving your questions and feedback.

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