May 13, 2013 | Atlanta, GA
If you are looking for funding for an innovative research project, Georgia Tech Starter may be just the tool you need.
Georgia Tech Starter is a university-based, peer-reviewed crowd-funding platform for science and engineering research projects.
Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) researcher Allison Mercer began the process of founding the site a year ago, after learning that faculty and researchers from other universities were using crowd-source funding
“I thought we could make Georgia Tech Starter a way to be more aboveboard, in regards to funding,” Mercer said. “Everything is peer-reviewed, so donors know the money will be used exactly as described.”
The site is perfect for generating seed funding (typically amounts up to $5,000) or helping to gather data for a larger project, Mercer said.
Researchers can access the Georgia Tech Starter site at starter.gatech.edu and begin the application process. A series of questions will help ensure compliance with requirements. Researchers will receive a review of their projects as well as feedback on how to better craft the project’s message for posting on Georgia Tech Starter.
“Our strategic plan calls for defining the technological research university of the 21st century and for the relentless pursuit of institutional effectiveness,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “Georgia Tech Starter is a perfect example of innovation and thinking out of the box. Executive Vice President for Research Steve Cross and I encourage faculty and researchers to participate by submitting proposals and letting the world know about the wonderful research going on here.”
Projects will be posted on the site for 60 days, and donors will only be charged if the funding goals are reached. So far, six projects are under review. When the site has 12 projects, it will be launched to the public.
Mercer mentions the reduction of taxpayer-funded sources’ budgets as the main reason behind the Georgia Tech Starter idea.
“The success of projects on other popular crowd-source funding sites is roughly 43 percent, which is much better than the odds on receiving funding from more conventional funding sources,” Mercer said. “And Georgia Tech Starter can help support projects in ways other than monetarily. Supporters who don’t donate can instead spread the word about projects via social media sites, which can lead to more exposure and funding.”
Open to faculty researchers and students, approval requirements are as follows: faculty must have department head approval, GTRI researchers must have lab approval, and students must have a faculty sponsor.