November 15, 2012

Petridish – Fund Valuable Research Projects

If you love science and find value in the research being done by experts in the field, then Petridish is a web-app that lets you put your money where your mouth is. Petridish essentially functions as Kickstarter for scientists, giving everyday citizens a way to give funding to the projects they view as the most exciting and worthwhile.

Become a part of history by funding valuable scientific research projects. To find a project worthy of your donation, browse through all the projects currently accepting funding through Petridish. Each project page includes a description of the research being done, relevant photos, and funding goals. These pages should also provide insight into what your money will actually be used for, and what scientific discoveries researchers are hoping to make. If you decide to fund a particular project, you can pledge to donate any amount of money. Petridish keeps track of how much money has been pledged so far, and requires that a minimum amount be reached by a certain deadline before funding kicks in. If that amount isn’t reached, then you’ll keep your money and your credit card will never be charged.

Scientists and researchers looking to get their own projects funded by everyday citizens can submit their plans to Petridish and use the web-app’s promotional tools to encourage others to help them reach their goals. Petridish only accepts projects from researchers who work with universities, non-profit groups, and research institutions, and prefers project proposals that fall under the $50,000 mark.

Practical Uses:

  • Donate money toward Alzheimer’s research
  • Get funding for your research into shark conservation techniques
  • Encourage family members to give money to move an important project forward
  • Get rewarded for pledging money to a worthy project

Insider Tips:

  • Credit cards are not charged until a project meets its funding goal
  • Only researches affiliated with universities, non-profits, and research institutions can post their projects on Petridish
  • Donors may be rewarded with dinner with researchers, naming rights, and in-person participation in the projects they support
  • Petridish uses Amazon Payments and Stripe to process transactions

What we liked:

  • Donating to a project can be a great way to build a relationship with a noted researcher
  • People can use Petridish’s promotional tools to help the projects they’ve pledged money to reach critical mass
  • Petridish accepts all types of scientific research projects
  • Petridish can help researchers develop proposals that are likely to get noticed by donors

What we didn’t like:

  • Petridish takes a cut from any donations that come through its site


Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2012 (Beta)
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Founded by: Matt Salzberg and Ilia Papas
  • Web site:


  • Petridish takes a 5% fee, plus a 3% to 4% credit card processing fee

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