Schools Training

Crowdfunding ‘could threaten government investment’

20 JAN 2014

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Joe Cox, principal lecturer in economics at the University of Portsmouth, said that the practice of academic crowdfunding – whereby researchers ask members of the public to back their project by making a donation – had the potential to complement existing funding mechanisms, but that it could be viewed by government as a way to cut research spending.

“If we accept that crowdfunding does potentially have a role to play in backing projects of academic research then we need to ask some very serious questions about how this fits in with the existing landscape for funding academic research,” he told the Innovation in Enterprise Funding: University Crowdfunding conference at the University of Westminster in London on 17 January.

“You have a very real risk that crowdfunding will be seen, particularly by politicians, as a pure substitute for traditional funding streams.

“In other words, if people are willing to get behind and back particular projects out of there own pockets, we can cut back on the level of public funding we devote to university research.”

The process of funding research projects by appealing for donations is more established in the US, where a number of researchers – often in scientific disciplines – have succeeded in raising funds by soliciting online donations.

 

Read full article: Times Higher Education