Crowdfunding Science: Experience from a Developing Country

Photograph of UV-Vis spectrophotometer and computer installed in MMAMC, Nepal

Educational institutions in Nepal like other developing countries lack basic infrastructure (e.g., instruments, equipment) for teaching and research in science. Unfortunately, support from the government is not enough. Nepal spends only 0.4% of its GDP in science and technology. Majority of this money goes to administrative expenses of government institutions related to science and technology. Universities and their affiliated colleges do not receive funding for research at all. Despite the lack of basic facilities, few enthusiastic researchers are trying their best to carry out research and train their students in science.
In 2014, we raised $3772.10 + NRs 61797 from a fundraising campaign in my coordination. Majority of this amount was collected via a crowdfunding platform, the Fundrazr.com and was used to buy UV-Vis spectrophotometer (a scientific instrument) and its accessories for department of chemistry, Mahendra Morang Adarsha Multiple Campus (MMAMC), Biratnagar, Nepal.
Among other campuses around the country, MMAMC, Biratnagar desperately needed an UV-Vis spectrophotometer, one of the basic instruments in many disciplines of sciences. Unfortunately, neither MMAMC nor the Tribhuvan University could support the purchase of this instrument, making external funding crucial. Unlike others, Dr. Ajaya Bhattarai, assistant professor of chemistry from MMAMC came forward and discussed the possibilities of obtaining funds with me.