Innovations That Matter

Research outsourcing website offers 'eBay for scientific knowledge'

Nonprofit & Social Cause

In the US, Science Exchange hopes to revolutionize scientific research, enabling researchers to easily outsource experiments.

For scientific researchers preparing to carry out experiments, it can be a constant source of frustration to find that the required equipment is either incredibly expensive to purchase or hire, or that the equipment is not readily available for access. In the US however, Science Exchange hope to make this a problem of the past by facilitating the outsourcing of experiments by researchers to top facilities and institutions. California-based Science Exchange was founded by Elizabeth Iorns, Ryan Abbott and Dan Knox earlier this year, with the key objective of making outsourcing experiments easy. Most major universities have a lab — or core facility — which is home to specialist equipment, the value of which can exceed USD 1m per machine. Owning such machines doesn’t make financial sense for smaller organizations, especially when they aren’t used frequently. Rather, researchers requiring such equipment for their experiments can begin using the Science Exchange service by submitting their proposals to the website. Labs in possessions of the required equipment and necessary staff can then place bids against each other to conduct the experiments, and, once a deal has been made, Science Exchange will handle all the billing and payment administration, from which they take a commission. Describing the service as “eBay, but for scientific knowledge”, Science Exchange also hope to provide quality assurance through a ratings system. The service currently has around 1,000 scientists using the site, and more than 70 institutions registered as providers, including Stanford School of Medicine and Princeton University. Could a similar model be extended to other industries where expensive unused equipment could be useful to smaller organizations? Spotted by: Katharina Kieck



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