5k for science (and other fundraising endeavors)

With all the hoopla for crowdfunding science, #SciFund and petridish.org (among others) I started wondering, “How come there was no traditional form of raising money for science?” And by traditional I don’t mean PI’s applying for grants. I look at crowdfunding for science more as like a charity type of situation. So why hasn’t there been any traditional type of fundraising for science?

Maybe someone has done this, but I haven’t heard of such a venture so I’m proposing a 5k for science. And for those who want to have a ton of fun, what about a pub crawl for science!

The idea would be simple, set up an event. Get a ton of people to register for the event and charge a $10-20 admission fee. Then let them run/drink themselves silly. The money would go directly towards labs for research. On the research end, graduate students could write microgrants that would be awarded with the money from the 5k (for instance).

Alternatively, those wishing to be funded via the 5k could submit posters to the 5k for display along the trail. The money would be evenly distributed among those posters’ “presenters” (since no one would actually be there alongside the poster).

If crowdfunding can work for science, than why can’t this?

This idea originally sprung up because I was thinking about how to engage the local commuinity (ABQ in my case) and entice them to contribute directly to research in their own backyard. A crowdfunding site dedicated to research at UNM was one avenue, but I wanted something that allowed students and researchers to interact directly with the community. Thus the idea of a 5k popped up. A pub crawl would probably be more “profitable”. And some kind of science day at a local museum would be more fitting (where ticket sales would be donated to researchers participating in the event). It might even be worth it for scientists to host their own educational opportunities where visitors would provide a donation for the researcher’s time. This would be most fun for those who do field work (ecologists, anthropologists, some biologists, and some very exciting physicists).

Anyway, the ideas are very rough, but could provide some interesting outside the box funding options for labs in the same mold that crowdfunding has provided.

If you have heard of such endeavors, please share your stories in the comments!