Do it yourself self funded biology

This blog has been born, primarily out of frustration. Well, actually, it has been born out of ambition, with the associated frustration that accompanies it, in this case relating to the low number of funding opportunities open to non-tenured academics in particular to the very limited number of fellowship applications available to the most ambitious young scientists.

As it stands each person has a different view of what constitutes science (including scientists) therefore science and particularly ‘good science’ largely becomes, a controlled enterprise, defined by money and governed by an informed, yet selective, set of people with particular beliefs and agendas.  Unfortunately funding for non-agenda driven research proposals are largely lacking with proposals which show little or no (often commercial) immediate application invariably being rejected.  This is even more acute for junior researchers in which a substantial and somewhat arbitrary period of postdoctoral work under the watchful eye of a more established experienced and ‘knowlegable’ colleague is required prior to independence.  Whilst in many cases supervision is not only necessary but beneficial to both parties, however in many cases and for many indivduals this can be stifling and actually limit creativity with many scientists servicing an agenda rather than asking truely pertinant questions.  As Einstein says ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’.  Rather than being more important I believe ‘Imagination lies upstream of knowledge’.

Unfortunately this agenda driven science often comes at the expense of curiosity driven research.  I believe that curiosity driven research is and will be the only way to generate truly novel solutions with the scientific youth being the most likely to succeed.

Given that the rate limiting step of most scientific research appears to be money this blogs primary goal is to develop novel alternatives to the current model of science funding in order to generate some modest research income and provide ways to save money in a scientific research environment.

This blog will chronicle my endeavours (and hopefully stimulate discussion) for alternative funding solutions in order to perform high quality ‘publishable’ research (currently the defining characteristic of a ‘good’ researcher) irrespective of presented opportunities, current scientific agenda or politics. All tools and methods developed will be published in full in this blog as I believe open source science is the key to future developments in basic research.

This blog is not about subertfuging the peer review process but meant as an adjunct to it as rather than just complaining about a lack of funding I thought I would try to come up with creative solutions to overcome this hurdle.

Ultimately I hope this journey will educate, inform and inspire all scientists but particularly younger scientists and the general public showing that it is possible to perform high quality independent scientific research from an early career stage on a shoestring budget.

To this extent my journey has several mission statements:

Investigate novel strategies to fund scientific research.

Create my own lab using re-engineered and purpose-built laboratory equipment/reagents, which are as commonly available as possible, primarily from recycled, donated or self-funded sources.

Publish a peer-reviewed scientific paper based on my self-created lab.

If you like what I do and what I stand for please donate and help me raise funds for my research, particularly projects related to curiosity driven research.

Donate to blue skies research

As a point of note any opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not necessarily representative of my employer.

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One Response to Do it yourself self funded biology

  1. Hugh Spencer says:

    I totally commend your comments … that’s what we do here (www.austrop.org.au) – and it’s amazing what can be done with very little funding and the old pencil and paper. We have quite sophisticated (but definitely 1990’s) technology – courtesy of Lab auctions and our own workshop capabilities. But who needs the latest for so much biological field work (unless it’s the ‘social status’ pressure..). Plus we fly under the radar of current WPH&S nazis, and we are our own Institution. We get a continuous flow of students from overseas.. which makes it all worthwhile –

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