Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Another Way You Can Contribute to Science (Maybe)

I've blogged numerous times her about ways you can personally help advance science and technology, from tracking birds to looking for extra-solar planets to devoting your unused computing power. Those were all amateur opportunities, however.

If you have experience in chemistry and/or the life sciences, you can help advance science and technology (and make a little bit of money) through a website called InnoCentive.

The InnoCentive site allows businesses or non-profit organizations to post research "challenges" with a prize award. Registered users can view the details of the challenges and can attempt to solve them in order to win the offered prize (which, at this time, range from $10,000 to about a million dollars).

Challenges include such things as:
  • A method is needed to create a highly energetic crystalline polyethylene surface that has increased wettability properties. ($15,000)
  • Identification of a non-animal base water insoluble material for use as a shell, and processes to utilize such a shell to make crushable capsules, are desired. ($50,000)
  • A high yield process for the synthesis of 3-alkyl thiophene oligomer with a narrow molecular weight distribution is desired. ($15,000)
  • A biomarker for measuring disease progression in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease/ Motorneuron Disease) is needed. ($1 million)
  • Plastic trays must be transferred from ambient conditions into and out of a pressurized, high temperature atmosphere at production speeds. ($20,000)

So if you have experience in any of these areas (and the equipment you'd need to do the work), you can earn some extra money, help a company prosper, and advance the state of science and technology, all at the same time.

No comments: