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What is your “push” doctor? The hint to solve the “problem that Japanese science has no money” is in “Pushing” | Business Insider Japan

Crowdfunding site photos

A crowdfunding site “academist” that specializes in supporting research fields. The research themes of your choice are lined up.

Photo: Takashi Mitsumura

I want to make an anticancer drug that suppresses DNA repair of cancer cells.

We would like to contribute to the development of forestry and alleviation of pollinosis with sugi that does not produce pollen.

Unraveling the roots from the “stone” in the head of the squid

At the crowdfunding site “academist”, which is the only one in Japan that specializes in supporting research fields, researchers talk about the attractiveness of their research themes in their own words.

The target amount of crowdfunding varies from hundreds of thousands of yen to over one million yen. Some of the supporters are core fans who support the projects of a particular researcher many times and continuously support them every month.

It’s just like “pushing”.

Mr. Ryosuke Shibato, the representative of the academist,

“Researchers have been doing research with public funds, butWith the economy shrinking, we need to create a new style for raising research funding.

He talks about why he supports crowdfunding research funding.

Increasing “sympathizers” for research through crowdfunding

Photo of Ryosuke Shibato

Mr. Ryosuke Shibato, the representative of the academist.

Capture the screen at the time of coverage

In Japan, it has long been pointed out that it is difficult to allocate research funds to a wide range of basic research fields against the background of “selection and concentration” of budgets for specific research fields. This is one of the reasons why the procurement of research funds through crowdfunding has increased.

In June, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan VLBI Mizusawa Observatory, which is also participating in the international project Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) that captures the appearance of black holes, carried out crowdfunding due to financial difficulties. It was noted that it succeeded in raising a total of more than 30 million yen.

The crowdfunding platform “READYFOR” used by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan supports the financing of research fields by utilizing the financing ability cultivated while implementing crowdfunding in a wide range of fields.As far as academic crowdfunding is concerned, the average amount of support is about 6.5 million yen, which is relatively high (the total amount of research-related support is about 1.4 billion)., Support for relatively big projects such as the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan stands out. A total of about 60 million yen was collected in the “Thorough Reproduction Project for Voyage 30,000 Years Ago” held twice in 2016 and 2018 at the National Museum.

On the other hand, as a platform specialized in research fields, academists have the impression that there are many support for young researchers and support for more niche research fields with high expertise.The average amount of support is about 1 to 1.5 million yenHas provided over 200 million yen in support from its founding in 2014 to March 2021.

Although the two companies have different scales of support, it can be said that they play different roles in their research fields.

Mr. Shibato

“People who have new ideas and can’t afford to pay for research, or who can experiment a little more, can try out ideas that could trigger such an application. They are used as such funds.”

Talks about the idea of ​​support for the interview with Business Insider Japan.

On the other hand, he says, he is not just aiming to support research funds that tend to be in short supply.

“More than that,Researchers should send out their own research vision and increase the number of people who sympathize with it.This is the purpose of establishing an academist.. I want more people to know the “big picture” that researchers, especially young people, want to clarify in their research and what kind of social issues they want to solve. “(Mr. Shibato)

In fact, that’s why we focused on crowdfunding.

Meaning that scientists become “push”

Breakdown of the field of crowdfunding conducted by academists.

Breakdown of the field of crowdfunding conducted by academists. There are many natural sciences.

Courtesy: Academist

“The more attractive the research is, the more the” fans “will support and the closer the relationship will be with the researchers. If the flow of funds intervenes,Continuous relationship between researchers and societyThere was a hypothesis that it would be. “(Mr. Shibato)

Many researchers engage in “outreach activities” to explain research results to the general public. However, it is difficult to get enough fans to donate research funds just by giving a lecture once.

“I want to do this kind of research” “I’m in this state of research now”

At the academist, by disseminating the current situation of such researchers as openly as possible, the researchers themselves and their research themes can be expressed.“Recommended” (supported) by many people and companiesAim for the situation.

“We have public funds and crowdfunding. Maybe we can do it together with a company. We started crowdfunding with the image of expanding such possibilities.” (Mr. Shibato)

It is important to create fans of the researcher and the research theme, because the emphasis is on “whether the researcher himself can talk about the vision ahead of the research” as a criterion for deciding whether or not the support by the academist is possible. It is nothing but because it exists

.

* In addition to having a department that examines the propriety of the project in-house, the academist has examination criteria such as the need for an expert “recommendant” with a Ph.D to implement crowdfunding. It is provided.

Professor Mareki Honma, who was conducting crowdfunding at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, also told Business Insider Japan before.

“I don’t think that this crowdfunding alone has solved anything. I hope that by appealing this situation in various ways, the direction of the wind in the world will change.” (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mareki Honma) Professor Ki)When,

Through crowdfunding, he hoped that there would be a change in public interest in the issue of research budget allocation.

In Japan, we often hear criticisms of the “selection and concentration” of research budgets.

However, Mr. Shibato points out that in order to solve this problem, it is necessary to increase the number of people who are interested in this problem other than academia. Crowdfunding is one hint to create a place to think about these issues.Academists have started efforts to continue to support researchers in the form of monthly “subscriptions” from around 2018.

Researchers can be “pushed” from a minimum of 330 yen per month. Researchers continuously provide research progress reports as returns.

(Sentence, Takashi Mitsumura)


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