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News Picks : Brazilian dam disaster study serves as example of crowdfunding's success

By: Physics Today
23 November 2015
SciDev.Net: Not only is crowdfunding a growing trend, but it is increasingly being used to fund science projects, especially in developing countries. A recent example is the crowdfunding campaign launched in Brazil to pay for an independent environmental report on one of the country’s biggest ever environmental disasters: the collapse of two mining dams, which released a flood of toxic waste that killed at least 11 people and left another 750 homeless. The response to fund the report has been overwhelming; to date it has exceeded its target amount by 44%. Another crowdfunding success story is that of Brazilian neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel, whose recent campaign allowed her to keep her laboratory open at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and retain her 14-person research team. Researchers say that besides providing much-needed monetary support, crowdfunding also allows the general public to express its interest in a given project and pushes scientists to learn how to communicate and engage with the public.

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