Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health

Leverage Science Crowdfunding

In this workshop, you will learn how to leverage crowdfunding to obtain seed funding. Science crowdfunding is an alternative approach that couples storytelling, fundraising, outreach and networking. Scientists in academia and the private sector have already successfully used it to supplement and substitute grants.

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Participants will get an overview of various crowdfunding approaches and receive hands-on training, allowing them to apply the new knowledge to advance their specific research and career goals. The training will have a special focus on clinical and translational health sciences.

To raise seed funding, you will have the opportunity to develop a crowdfunding campaign with the Experiment team, post your campaign on the Experiment online platform and get marketing support to help achieve your funding goals.

Course Syllabus/Topics

  1. Defining Crowdfunding
    • Introduction: What is crowdfunding, and how does it work for science research?
    • Underlying dynamics of success and failure among crowdfunding campaigns
    • Typical projects well-suited to crowdfunding for science
    • Case studies of campaigns that have succeeded in raising substantial funds and/or creating engaging content
  2. Developing a Crowdfunding Campaign
    • Understanding the components of a crowdfunding campaign
    • Public disclosure and intellectual property rules
    • Budgeting and the all-or-nothing (AON) funding model
    • Using language for a non-scientific audience that gets people to donate
    • Understanding activity and promotion on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
    • Talking to the Press
    • What backers get in return
  3. Campaign video production: SC CTSI will provide video production support for all researchers and their campaign videos.
  4. Campaign marketing: Experiment and SC CTSI will collaborate to provide support to promote and increase the reach of the campaigns.

Recommended Reading

Research on Crowdfunding

Examples of Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns



  • Will I get a certificate after completing this workshop?

    Upon request, participants who complete individual workshops or the entire series will receive a certificate signed by Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS, Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Director, USC Institute for Global Health, Director of the SC CTSI Education, Career Development, and Ethics program, and lead instructor Katja Reuter, PhD, director of Digital Strategy and the eHome program at SC CTSI.

  • What resources will I need for this workshop?

    Please bring your computer and your phone. You will need Internet access.

  • What tools will we be using in this workshop?

    We will introduce several web-based approaches to scholarship including social media tools.