It’s not all fun and lab coats for the working scientist: in fact, you’d probably be surprised at how little time researchers get to spend at the bench. This is partly because they have to dedicate a lot of time to looking for money.
As government funding is increasingly subject to politics and budget cuts, scientists have begun looking for new sources of cash. The most obvious place to look for additional money is the business world; however, without careful navigation and proper safeguards, this can lead to accusations of financially-motivated bias in research results. Charitable organizations can raise money from the public for health-related research, but this leaves out many other worthwhile projects, and there are perennial concerns about how much funding actually goes to science versus how much goes to administrative overhead.
More recently, some researchers have started looking at new funding models, by making use of the Internet to solicit money directly from members of the public. The website Sciflies.org is one such attempt to just that. The site’s tagline is “Make Science Happen” and it encourages members of the public to make donations directly to specific studies. For example, in the psychology section, you can donate to a study on the brain changes associated with compulsive hoarding, and for the engineering buffs, there’s a study about ancient embankments.
As this is the era of social media, the site also offers way to share specific projects on platforms like Facebook, so you can encourage your friends to donate too.
For similar models of funding, also check out SciFund.