For Researchers

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is big news!

Until quite recently funding a project or a business would typically have involved raising large sums of money from a small number of investors. However, now people can raise the same amount of funds in relatively small amounts from a large number of investors. The crowdfunding culture has expanded; in 2013 more than 9 million individual backers were involved in crowdfunding in the UK alone.

In 2014, crowdfunding projects raised £10.5 billion (US$16.2 billion) globally; social causes alone raised £1.9 billion (US$3.06 billion). In 2015, the industry is set to double in size, potentially raising the market size to £22.4 billion (US$34.4 billion) (1).

Many different sectors have taken advantage of crowdfunding as it has proven to be efficient and successful. Yet, the most important aspect seems to be that crowdfunding promotes the engagement of communities thanks to the financial disintermediation and direct communication between individuals.

As crowdfunding is growing almost exponentially, medical progress is reaching a plateau due to a chronic lack of funding, and is thus being held back. There are thousands of brilliant researchers out there with viable ideas for important projects that can impact thousands of people. CROWDACURE wants to bridge the funding gap and connect crowdfunding with medical progress. We understand how hard it is to secure funding and our aim is to change this by providing a platform to aid alternative sources of funding reaching neglected medical research.


Case study

It is amazing how strongly people engage to support good causes. In 2014, a young man raised £459,382 (US$703,000) from more than 32,000 people so that he could offer a 68 year-old female bus monitor, who had been a victim of harassment, the first holiday of her life.

The same, if not higher, level of engagement also happens for medical research; in 2014 over £196,072 (US$300,000) was raised in a month to help fund a clinical trial investigating a stem cell based therapy for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Here are further examples of crowdfunding campaigns aimed at funding medical research:

Now it’s your turn…

Do you have a project or campaign plan lying around that you have been trying to fund for too long? Are you having difficulty finding backers because your research focuses on rare diseases, mental health or issues affecting developing countries?

If you do, or know of anyone that does, contact us! You can join our community of pioneer researchers who are redefining how medical research is funded. Be part of our crowd.


How does CROWDACURE work?

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

First, you will need to prepare your research project, and then your crowdfunding campaign.

1. Research project readiness:

You will work with the CROWDACURE Medical Review Board (MRB) and staff.

Your synopsis: make sure it is ready (CONTACT US), costed and peer-reviewed (it should be peer-reviewed for the campaign to start).

Hard to fund: clarify why it is hard to fund through the traditional funding channels. The information you provided will be reviewed by the CROWDACURE MRB.

Peer review: document where and how your project has been reviewed by peers, even if it failed the final outcome (funding). What is important is the review has concluded the research team, the research question and research method are valid, and hence “fundable”. This should support the understanding that the funding difficulty is not related to the research quality but to funding prioritisation. The information you provided will be reviewed by the CROWDACURE MRB.

If your project has not gone through peer-review, it will be done by the CROWDACURE MRB.

Contact us for further clarifications.

Mini-goal: together with the MRB you will determine if you have plans for additional funding sources in case you do not raise all the money necessary from the crowd. This plan will include determining the minimal crowdfunding threshold that will represent a reasonable money to support your fundability with other organisations.

If your campaign raises less than the mini-goal, the money will be returned to the backers. If you raise more, you will receive the money and a pre-determined time to raise grants from other sources.

Contact us for further clarifications.

2. Build a campaign

As a researcher you will need to build a campaign surrounding your proposed research project. This will involve filling your project page with engaging content, video(s), image(s) and details on your research project plan.

All content should be written for the general public, ensuring that it will encourage people to pledge money towards your project and that it is of an understandable nature, e.g. medical terms and references are explained.

To help manage the expectations of your backers and avoid disappointment, you will describe the major milestones of your project, such as the end of the patient recruitment or end of the study.

But… don’t worry we offer a number of services to help you on the road to success.

3. Spread the word

Once you have launched your campaign you will need to spread the word. This means getting all your friends, family, patients and colleagues behind you. It’s important to keep everyone updated with your progress and give them incentive(s) to keep supporting you by sharing the story.

4. Keep communicating with your community

Successful campaigns update their backers since the first hours of a launch and keep communicating with them until the very end to ensure that backing doesn’t stop at the donation stage, but continues with the social media sharing of the campaign across the backer’s own networks.

5. Now it’s time to go global

Building up a network of people you know is going to get you part of the way towards your goal, but reaching people globally (thanks to your network and ours) that are interested in your research will get you across the line. This means building up a presence on the internet so that people that are interested in your research will also pledge to your research project.

6. Rewards come to those who donate and wait

CROWDACURE think that it is important that your backers know how grateful you and the campaign team are for their support.

Updates on your progresses are important; successful campaigns update their backers in each milestone, including your research preparation and final results (expected to be shared as much as possible in peer-reviewed and open-access journal).

7. Mission accomplished

If you raise enough funding the entirety of the money, including the GIFT AID,  will be transferred to your bank account. You will then be able to finalise the protocol writing, pass all reviews where and as appropriate, and initiate your research.

If you do not reach your fundraising goal, do you have plans to raise money from other sources? In the spirit of partnership with the crowd you will update the crowd on the milestones of the project on your “updates” page.

Examples of milestones include ethical approval, trial’s staff training and readiness, delivery of the study drug and start of patients’ recruitment.

At the end of the research it is the community’s expectation to be informed in priority and for the data to be published as much as possible in a peer-reviewed open-access journal.

How will CROWDACURE help me create an engaging campaign?

At CROWDACURE we want you to succeed in achieving your goals. We use our knowledge of the medical research world and communication with the public to support you in your campaign preparation and running.

Register and contact us for further details.



Is CROWDACURE a good option for me?

To find out if we are your  best option you must fulfil the criteria:

1) Your research project needs to be hard to fund.

2) Your research project needs to appeal. Not every medical research can move the crowds to raise funding and not all medical research can be crowdfunded. But if you are unsure, contact us.

3) You must be prepared to work hard. You might think that crowdfunding sounds like a fantastic idea to solve your research funding needs, but it does require work: crowdfunding requires you to reach out to your family and friends, patients and colleagues to ask for their support, not only by donating but also and maybe even more importantly, by helping to run and spread the campaign. Are you ready?

4) Your campaign page must be engaging. With the help of CROWDACURE you will need to work to ensure that your project page is appealing, attractive and written to a level that the public will understand. You will also need to bring in creative ideas to ensure your network of supporters grows.

Can any project campaign?

CROWDACURE is a devoted platform for hard to fund medical research. As “hard to fund” is not a binary concept, the CROWDACURE MRB will advise you if your project is hard to fund; they follow the CROWDACURE criteria and definition of “hard to fund”.

Your project can research global health and rare diseases, or it can be underfunded in the sense of a non-commercial project that is not a priority of either public funding bodies or philanthropic organisations.

It is noteworthy that what will finally determine the fundability of every project on CROWDACURE is the interest of the crowd. Therefore, CROWDACURE cannotguarantee the campaign success.

What are rewards?

At CROWDACURE we think that it is important that the people who donate get something back from the researchers – often non-tangible rewards are more valuable to the types of people who back medical research. As a researcher you will need to keep your support network up-to-date with your progress and you may like to set up phone calls or meetings with supporters if they give large sums of money.

We will give you examples of what a good reward could be, but this is a chance for you to get creative too. What do you think is a good reward for donating to your project? You can consider both tangible and intangible rewards.

How do I get paid?

Once you’ve passed the mini-goal threshold the payment is directly delivered to your selected account through the payment gateway. The fee you is 2.4% + 20p.

What bank account should I use for this campaign?

The account that will receive the crowdfunded monies should belong to the institution sponsoring your research. It is best if it is a charitable account. Private accounts will notbe accepted.

What kind of goal(s) should I be setting?

We recommend that the research budget is costed in a conservative way. Furthermore, as only hard to fund medical research campaigns are on CROWDACURE  the researchers are expected to select the study design in that spirit.

If possible, it is useful to split your project into milestones. This method raises the chances of success. However, it needs to reflect the realities of medical research. For example, if ethical committees do not approve your project until you have the funding necessary to run the study, there is no point in splitting the study cost into milestones.

You will need to be fairly transparent (whilst also preserving your confidentiality) with the crowd on these matters and with the way you plan the funding.

How does CROWDACURE get paid?

For successful projects CROWDACURE takes 10% fee of donations and 5% of the GIFTAID. Our fee covers the specific services provided by CROWDACURE to increase the chances of medical research funding.

Fundraising for hard to fund medical research is difficult by nature, therefore CROWDACURE proposition involves active support.

What about institutional overhead?

It is expected that the institution sponsoring the research will not charge overhead.

What about intellectual property?

CROWDACURE will in no way interfere with any intellectual property processes related to the research project. Similarly, individuals or organisations funding the research project will have no intellectual property claim on the research project.

Where do I begin?

You can start by submitting your research project idea to us and we will get back to you within 3-5 working days.

Contact us and let’s get started

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