Tuesday 20 October 2015

Why do you read science blogs: a research project funded by Experiment

This is not wholly a direct request for feedback on the Core Genomics blog! Dr. Paige Jarreau from LSU is surveying science blog readers about their social media habits and perceptions of the science blogs they read. Her project is funded partly through Experiment: the kick-starter of the experimental world. Her project brought this platform to my attention and it looks pretty cool (see the latter part of this post).


Paige has created a survey for Core-Genomics readers. By participating, you’ll be helping me improve Core-Genomics and contribute to some science on blog readership. You will also get FREE science art from Paige's Photography for participating, as well as a chance to win a t-shirt and other perks.

The survey will ask you questions in three main parts:
  1. questions specific to Core-Genomics
  2. questions about your general use of social media and your scientific knowledge
  3. questions about yourself and your interests.
It should only take 10-15 minutes of your time so please do complete the survey.

Experiment: I described this as the kick-starter of the experimental world and I think that pretty much gets across what the group are doing. It is an interesting model and some of the experiments look good, although I'm less sure about "Qualitative survey of burritos in San Francisco"!

Experiment is not a replacement for your normal grant applications. So far several hundred projects have been funded, but 80% of these were for research budgets of less than £5,000. Experiment says that there have been 20 papers published in scientific journal from funded projects (although I could not find a publications link on the website).

How does it work: Anyone can submit a project: PhD, masters or undergrad as well as citizen-scientists and school kids; for me this is the most fun thing about Experiment.

Unlike a grant the money comes to you directly. I'm not sure how this is taxed, or what you need to declare to your University or host institution? The Experiment team take an 8% overhead on your funded project.

Only projects that reach their funding goal are given the cash, so a shortfall is essentially a rejection. Anyone with a scientific mind could probably see that this kind of grant funding could be helped by a personal donation (which will be refunded -8%) once the project is approved. Grantsmanship looks to apply here as in the usual way!

The Experiment team say "all projects are rigorously reviewed...and scientifically approved by the Experiment team", however there is no peer review as you'd normally expect and no listing of the people involved in the review process - I'd like to see Experiment being more open access on this front.

Currently Experiment is only open to US researchers and they plan to expand to  Canada, UK, and Australia next. Core-Genomics will be sure to submit a project for review as soon as the UK is live!

Best of luck to the Experiment team. This may not have a huge impact on the NIH budget, but it is sure to fund some real success stories - I look forward to hearing about these over the next few years.


  1. Nice feature of Experiment.com! I'll be blogging soon about the crowd-funding experience.

    1. (The comment above was from Paige Jarreau!)

  2. waiting for more science new about cells

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