Fewer than one in three researchers across the globe are female, and a recent study has shown that they are less likely than their male counterparts to receive sufficient funding for their projects. Hoping to help close this gap, Instrumentl is a web based crowdfunding platform for female scientists, which enables anyone to invest in STEM projects led by female researchers.
Instrumentl is currently in Beta and has already helped researchers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) finance six individual projects, three of which surpassed their fundraising goal. Research ranges from coral reefs, to frog breeding sites to carnivore conservation. As with most crowdfunding platforms, individuals are invited to create a campaign on the site, describing their aims and choosing a funding goal. All projects should be significant in the corresponding field of expertise and they are currently reviewed by Instrumentl before being launched. The start-up currently only host one campaign at a time.
Potential investors can browse the site for projects that interest them and donate anything from USD 5 to USD 1000. Pledgers receive rewards such as social media shout outs, copies of the research papers or field trips. Unlike most sites, however, Instrumentl promotes flexible funding, so researchers receive donations at the end of the campaign whether or not they reach their monetary goal. Instrumentl retains 7 percent of all donations. The site also hosts a list of potential grants and scholarships to maximize the potential funding for female STEM researchers.
Are there other fields where women remain at a disadvantage and could turn to crowdfunding for monetary assistance?