How to make scientists find the right funding — and why it benefits all of us
The Nordics can pride ourselves on world-leading scientific research within various different fields. In order to maintain that, the goal of this new open research funding database is to help fund groundbreaking research projects.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
December 13, 2022
Dr Judy Mielke and Kate Gardner have a background in research and academic publishing. The duo share that in order to achieve the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, they believe that we all need to let researchers focus on research.
— So, we developed our open research funding database, scientifyRESEARCH, as the first step in helping researchers increase productivity. In our opinion — and confirmed by our users — it has the best data structure. So, when researchers use it, they are not confronted with a lengthy list of information to sieve through — only to realize that they are not eligible, or have missed the deadline. This happens daily for researchers, and it is a huge waste of time. We know this because we have experienced it firsthand and from the many conversations we’ve had with researchers during the two decades when we worked with them.
And how do you help them?
— From a big-picture perspective, we disseminate research funding information so that the best research and most promising ideas can be funded and that we have solutions to help us achieve the 17 UN SDGs. This information must reach every eligible and qualified researcher for us to have the best solutions possible. We are far from this today — research funding information is scattered across the internet, which we know is more like the wild wild west than the world wide web, Mielke and Gardner say. They continue:
— For the individual researcher, this means that they don’t have to spend time combing through the internet, reading every funding call that could be possibly relevant for them, and curating their own research funding lists. The time that they could spend writing better proposals and, even more importantly, doing the research. It also means that they have a wider pool of funders that they can apply to and therefore also more likely to be successful in their grant proposals. And back to the big picture again — researchers are funded by taxpayers, so wasting their time is wasting our money. It’s also about missing out on solutions that help us mitigate climate change, help us improve our health, promote equality, and everything that we value and strive for.
And do you work with universities?
— This year, we’ve focused on building a loyal following of researchers, research offices, and learned societies that support researchers, like a club for researchers with different interests. We will continue to build partnerships across different universities and societies by offering tailored content. It can be funding lists that suit countries — for instance, our collaboration with EPFL in Switzerland — and delivering webinar content, which we’ve done with, for instance, the Pharmacy Student group in Austria, the UK Higher Education Chinese Employees Association and climate change researchers during Open Access week.
What’s next for you?
— We have received a Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency) grant and will now become the first and only research funding database that covers the whole pipeline of research to innovation, thereby enabling even more researchers and innovators to turn their research into impact. There is a massive gap between research and impact — but it does not have to be that way, Mielke and Gardner conclude.
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