Science in the U.S. is slated for a devastating blow on January 2, 2013 when the debt deal Congress passed last year kicks in, implementing a 9% cut in science funding lasting until 2021. While university infrastructures will be hit hard, the cuts will put a chokehold on research funding, reducing grants and increasing competition for them. Yet, there’s hope. An alternative to federal funding recently launched named Petridish.org, a Kickstarter-esque startup that democratizes science funding by crowdsourcing it, providing a platform for researchers to pitch their science proposals directly to the public and allowing users to make scientific history by backing them. But is the public ready to engage science research so directly? I had a chance to chat with Matt Salzberg, Founder and CEO of Petridish, to find out.
“Petridish is building an audience of people who like science,” says Matt. “And it’s a really big draw to say, ‘I helped make this discovery happen.’ It seems so logical for something like this to exist.”