Sexting, Allergies And Diabetes Projects Seek Support On New Research Crowdfunding Platform

18/01/2016 9:10 AM AEDT | Updated January 18, 2016 09:10
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A new crowdfunding platform is connecting everyday people with researchers to fund the projects that matter to them -- and more than $70,000 has already been donated.

Researchable has launched with three projects seeking funding including a tablet to treat diabetes by Curtin University; investigating adrenaline's shelf life for severe allergy by the University of Tasmania; and creating an online parents' guide about pornography and sexting to reduce potential harm by the Burnet Institute.

Founder George Crones told The Huffington Post Australia medical research touched everyone.

"We all will have a run in with health in one way or another in our lifetime," Crones said.

"When you or your nearest and dearest suffer from a serious or life threatening disease, you want to help.

"Now I'm not a researcher, and I don't have millions of dollars to give, but we want to know our $50 donations here and there will go towards making a difference."

The tax-deductible platform is different to other crowdfunding sites in that it's not available for anyone to upload their cause.

"We partner with universities and medical institutions and there's a process whereby the institutions vet the projects before they even come to us, and then we have a look at them, so you can know the researchers are who they say they are ans they've got ethical clearances and a reasonable chance of success."

He said the industry was crying out for this type of funding model as competition for government funding had become more competitive.

"Funding has either dried up or stagnated over time but the amount of great ideas worth researching has increased," Crones said.

"If you look at funding from the National Health And Medical Research Council over time their available money for major grants is about the same -- it's gone down a little bit -- but the competition for that money has practically doubled between 2008 and 2012.

"But as well as being money poor, researchers are time poor because filling out an application to the NHMRC can take months."

He said another major funding source, charities, was not always as efficient as it could be in terms of delivering dollars to researchers.

"A lot of charities do a brilliant job but for some, it might be 80 cents in every dollar going to the actual research -- and sometimes it's much worse," he said.

"Researchable isn't designed to replace any finding sources, it's providing a way people can connect to the causes they care about."

He said they had plans to expand beyond Australia and into all fields of research.

"Medical research is a great place to start but I imagine in the future we could expand into things like researching artificial intelligence or astronomy," Crones said.

"In terms of expanding globally, we've already had donations from India, the U.S. and China. Medical issues are global, and I think the solutions will often come from institutions around the world working together."

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