‘Kickstarter for science’ wants to cure Alzheimers, teach coding, save the pandas

microryzaMOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.- Microryza is democratizing scientific research.

Microryza is a crowdfunding platform to follow and fund scientific research projects. On stage at Y Combiantor’s Demo Day, founder Cindy Wu said that funding for research projects is short-sighted and only available to PhDs and professors. Microryza opens up the financing opportunities to people outside of these communities, and users are choosing this channel instead of applying for grants.

On the site, researchers set up a profile with their proposed project and raise money  to carry out the research. Backers projects can track the lab’s progress as experiments unfold and have the opportunity to interact directly with the researchers.

“This solution helps close the gap for potential and promising, but unfunded projects,” Bill Gates said about Microryza.

The types of projects are narrowed down into categories- education, biology, engineering, computer science, medicine, ecology and palentology. If you have a specific topic that interests you, like breast cancer research or biofuel, you can zero in on those opportunities. However, browsing yields some interesting findings, including a look at how lemurs can ensure their own survival, whether machine learning can ace tough tests, and searching for a cure for Alzheimers.

The caliber of researchers is high. A majority of the project owners are working on or have advanced degrees, and many already work with scientific or academic organizations, and just need an extra push to achieve their goals. Profiles include videos, biographical information about the scientists, and  answer the questions “What are the goals of this project?”, “Why is this research important?”, and “How will the funds be used?”

Wu said the site is doubling each week in terms of transactions, projects, and users. Her ultimate goal? To turn anyone with a credit card into a patron of science.

VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition: Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.