PDA

View Full Version : How does one go about funding research?



SRH
2012-Aug-06, 11:37 AM
If I wanted to fund a research project, how would I go about finding the right person for the job and what would be a typical cost?
Are research hires paid by the hour or by the project?

The project would involve finding supporting evidence, deriving math, running computer simulations, and writing a paper for a peer reviewed journal, in the fields of astrophyics, theoretical astrophysics, phyics, quantum physics, astrobiology, chemistry, and math.
It may or may not involve coming up with new physics.

Also, would it be possible to find a person that would be willing to find evidence and derive the supporting math for an ATM hypothesis/theory of mine that they don't themselves believe in?

Would it be best to contact a university professor who could suggest a competent grad student? Is that not proper protocol?
Just to be clear, i am not soliciting CQ users. I am just curious as to what the proper mechanism is for funding a specific project.


Thanks for any suggestions.

Cougar
2012-Aug-06, 12:17 PM
Oh, you want to do the funding? Hmm. That's an uncommon question. University professors certainly seek funding, but that's usually for their own research. They often use part of that funding to pay grad students to work on part of the project. The university usually takes a big cut, though. The only university I know anything about takes 49% of all funding any of its professors get. After all, those profs are there because of the university. I don't know how many profs would be anxious to work on your research program.

You may do better soliciting CQX users. : )

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-06, 03:11 PM
I remember Spider Robinson suggesting to ask a professor if they're aware of any bright and poor undergrad students who for some reason falls between the cracks of all scholarships, then offer them one yourself. (The trick was that this would include an agreement that the student upon graduating should be willing to do work for you at cost for a reasonable amount of hours)

I wonder if something similarly can be done for grad students.

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-06, 09:57 PM
I wonder if kickstarter could be used for this.

Or you could send it to me care of an anonymous paypal account. I'll make sure it gets to where it needs to go. promise. :^)

Jens
2012-Aug-07, 02:28 AM
Also, would it be possible to find a person that would be willing to find evidence and derive the supporting math for an ATM hypothesis/theory of mine that they don't themselves believe in?


I don't really see why not believing in something has so much to do with it. Not being interested could be a big problem. But in science, you're supposed to be working to find out whether something is true or not, so belief shouldn't be important. Rather, it's looking for evidence. I do find it slightly problematic that your approach seems to resemble more a legal brief than a scientific hypothesis. Rather than saying, "finding evidence for," it seems to me that you should be saying, "look for evidence to see whether my theory is correct or not." Since you yourself do not know if it is true, you should be looking for evidence.

There could also be a slight issue with recognition. A person who is considering a career in a field like astrophysics would probably have trepidations about having their name associated with such an endeavor. Were you thinking of just an assistant or a co-researcher?

Ara Pacis
2012-Aug-07, 04:43 AM
On second thought. A better way might be to write a book on the subject, claim that the data was lost to government agents, and then when you gain notoriety, lots of people will come forward to help you re-establish the "data" that was "stolen".

slang
2012-Aug-07, 08:53 AM
Wrap the project in an Intelligent Design sauce and have the Disco'tute pay for it. This may well ruin your reputation 'tho. Or theirs, if you pull it of cleverly :-)

SRH
2012-Aug-10, 03:35 PM
There could also be a slight issue with recognition. A person who is considering a career in a field like astrophysics would probably have trepidations about having their name associated with such an endeavor. Were you thinking of just an assistant or a co-researcher?

Either/or, but probably a co-researcher since I do not have a background in science.
I would obviously prefer to find a volunteer, but I have no idea how to go about it.

selden
2012-Aug-10, 08:50 PM
One solution might be to publish a position advertisement in appropriate campus (or other) newspapers.

Wanted: researcher to ...
Minimum requrements: Masters Degree in ... or equivalent experience.
Pay scale: ...
Working hours: ...
Health benefits: ...

etc.

You'd need to do careful background checks and verification of references, of course.

trinitree88
2012-Aug-18, 02:41 PM
Toe. Start your own non-profit. Talk to an attorney about the legalese involved. Have an HR expert screen prospective employees. Have employess sign non-disclosure agreements on the work you fund and do together. Publish your own stuff.

or, find a T.T.O (technology transfer officer) at a major university (more resources) who can consult with you off-hours , also under a disclosure agreement reviewed by a patent attorney, to see if He/She can broker a deal for you. Typically TTO's work in that same type of funding/ research/ academia/ high tech/ patent office/ licensing/ franchising scenario as a lifestyle.

been there, done that. pete

Grey
2012-Aug-18, 04:25 PM
Also, would it be possible to find a person that would be willing to find evidence and derive the supporting math for an ATM hypothesis/theory of mine that they don't themselves believe in?


Either/or, but probably a co-researcher since I do not have a background in science.A serious question: since you don't have a background in science, and you haven't already found the evidence and worked out the supporting math for your hypothesis, what leads you to think it's correct? I don't mean to criticize, but I think yours is a relatively common attitude, where you've got this idea, and you're thinking now you just have to work out the details, and that the support work is the easy part. The mainstream is the mainstream because the observations and the math support it. And all of the effort to support and validate an initial idea is where most of the hard work of science lies.*

That said, I'd agree that grad students or former grad students might be your best bet. I think it relatively unlikely that you can find someone who will work to support your idea without believing it, though. Either the observations really do support your idea, in which case presenting your idea to someone is likely to convince them you are correct. Or the observations do not support your idea, and so anyone with scientific integrity is not going to want to try to persuade others that it's correct. Of course, you might find someone who is initially skeptical, but is later convinced by the data, but even then, you'll have to at least be able to present a plausible case that your idea might be valid in order to get someone interested in exploring the possibility in the first place.

As for cost, a typical research grant for a grad student would cover tuition costs, as well as providing a stipend for living expenses. I think typical numbers for the hard sciences these days would be somewhere between $15K and $30K annually, in addition to tuition costs. Most would also offer benefits such as health insurance.

* I'm reminded of something Isaac Asimov wrote in an introduction to one of his essays. It seems that he would frequently be approached by someone who would say something like, "I've got this great idea for a book! How about if I tell you the idea, you write the book, and we split the profits?" Asimov's usual response would be along the lines of, "I have several great ideas for books every day. I'll give you one of them, you can write the book, and you can keep all of the profits".

SRH
2012-Aug-18, 09:44 PM
A serious question: since you don't have a background in science, and you haven't already found the evidence and worked out the supporting math for your hypothesis, what leads you to think it's correct? I don't mean to criticize, but I think yours is a relatively common attitude, where you've got this idea, and you're thinking now you just have to work out the details, and that the support work is the easy part. The mainstream is the mainstream because the observations and the math support it. And all of the effort to support and validate an initial idea is where most of the hard work of science lies.*

That said, I'd agree that grad students or former grad students might be your best bet. I think it relatively unlikely that you can find someone who will work to support your idea without believing it, though. Either the observations really do support your idea, in which case presenting your idea to someone is likely to convince them you are correct. Or the observations do not support your idea, and so anyone with scientific integrity is not going to want to try to persuade others that it's correct. Of course, you might find someone who is initially skeptical, but is later convinced by the data, but even then, you'll have to at least be able to present a plausible case that your idea might be valid in order to get someone interested in exploring the possibility in the first place.

As for cost, a typical research grant for a grad student would cover tuition costs, as well as providing a stipend for living expenses. I think typical numbers for the hard sciences these days would be somewhere between $15K and $30K annually, in addition to tuition costs. Most would also offer benefits such as health insurance.

* I'm reminded of something Isaac Asimov wrote in an introduction to one of his essays. It seems that he would frequently be approached by someone who would say something like, "I've got this great idea for a book! How about if I tell you the idea, you write the book, and we split the profits?" Asimov's usual response would be along the lines of, "I have several great ideas for books every day. I'll give you one of them, you can write the book, and you can keep all of the profits".


I agree with you completely that the most difficult parts are working out the supporting math and designing models for specific mechanisms of action.

My ideas may not be correct, but I would like to explore them further. I do have some supporting evidence already and there should be a lot more in the unlikely event that the central idea is in fact correct.

The cost of a research grant is prohibitive. Instead, I will continue to try to educate myself and work towards building a case that will hopefully convince someone to volunteer to help me investigate. Thank you everyone for the advice. :)