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Policy and funding

How to fund physics using the wisdom of crowds

19 May 2015

Do you have a burning desire to fund physics research? Or perhaps you are a physicist who has grown weary of making endless applications for government-funded research grants and is looking for new sources of money. In this podcast, Mark Jackson explains why he created the “crowd-funding” service Fiat Physica, which aims to bring together small donors and researchers in need of cash


Doing physics research costs money and today most of it comes from government funding agencies. Grant applications are reviewed by expert scientists and funding policies are shaped by bureaucrats and politicians. This inevitably leads to mountains of paperwork, and Jackson argues that this wastes valuable time that could be spent on actually doing research.

His solution is for physicists to appeal directly to the public for research money by using Fiat Physica, which he launched late last year. Jackson tells editor Hamish Johnston about how crowd-funding works and describes some of the projects that have used his service. He also explains how Fiat Physica will avoid paying for crackpot research on topics such as perpetual motion.


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