Academics are getting in on crowdfunding

peachyprinterSaskatchewan-based entrepreneur Rylan Grayston had an idea for creating the world'€™s most affordable (and simple to use) 3D printer. So, in 2013 he decided to go on Kickstarter, with the goal of making $50,000. By October 20, 2013, his Peachy Printer concept had raised over $650,000.

His experience demonstrates the power of crowdfunding, a money and awareness-raising tool that is now being used by a surprising variety of groups outside of the startup or commercial space.

One such unconventional example is Dr. Jaymie Matthews, an astronomy professor from UBC. He made international headlines earlier this month when data from the Canadian satellite he manages, called MOST, helped scientists map the birth and subsequent aging of stars. This breakthrough will aid our understanding of the formation of the Sun and our universe.

mostBut what didn'€™t get as much attention was the fact that federal funds for the MOST satellite will be ending this September, which will likely result in this important space instrument being switched off.

Matthews is now turning to public and corporate donors to keep this research project rolling.

Both Grayston and Matthews will be speaking at the 2014 Cyber Summit about their experiences with crowdsourcing: what works, what doesn'€™t, and why researchers and academics should be paying more attention to the resources that the global community can provide.

The Effective Crowdsourcing session will also feature the team behind Alberta BoostR, a platform for local small-to-medium sized businesses to tell their story and request financial '€œboosts'€ in return for something of value (either a service or an item).

Other Summit sessions will cover net neutrality, promoting creativity in the post-Heartbleed era and whether cloud is the solution for everyone, as well as more technical topics such as automation tools for IT, contributing to open source and the future of networking technologies.

The 2014 Summit will run from September 24-25 in Banff, Alberta, and is open to anyone with an interest in the future of Albeta's digital infrastructure, knowledge-base and economy.

Register here