Everyone has big ideas – cool experiments to conduct in exotic locations or with interesting but hard to work with organisms – but that can cost money… and research funding is increasingly competitive. Experiment.com is a crowd-sourced funding platform for scientific research.

Scientists describe the research goals and impact. Backers provide funding directly to the scientists, with no loss of money to overhead. Experiment is all-or-nothing; each project must reach the funding target, or the potential backer’s pledges are not charged. Best of all, the data and results are shared with backers, and these are open access and citable, greatly increasing the potential impact of the work.

Lee Bryant, an MS student at Arkansas State University and a new AFO member, is studying how the decline in Eastern Hemlock, caused by invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), is affecting the ecology of the Louisiana Waterthrush, an important bio-indicator of the overall health of this ecosystem. Lee is employing citizen scientists, but needs a seasonal tech for help with the field work. She is using Experiment to crowd-source this position. With testimonies from advisors and collaborators, Lee makes her pitch, describing the context, goals, and significance of the project. Potential backers can even ask questions and receive answers about the project before committing. This is a great new avenue for students to seek funding for the research while simultaneously increasing its public visibility. Visit https://experiment.com/ to discover more about Experiment and add “Lee” to the search tool to read more about Lee’s project (direct link HERE). If it sounds like she is breaking new ground, advancing conservation and science, consider backing her!

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