A Workshop on

The Role of Crowdfunding in the STEM Ecosystem

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Organized by the Georgia Institute of Technology

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 8:30 - 5:00

Holiday Inn Alexandria Carlyle

Mount Vernon Room

2460 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria VA 22314

Meeting chair: Morris Cohen

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech

mcohen@gatech.edu, 404-894-8415


Speaker and Panelist Bios

Dr. Morris Cohen, Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Bio: Morris is an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech, since 2013. His research specialty is low frequency radio waves generation, propagation, and reception, with applications to lightning detection, ionospheric remote sensing, global communications, next-generation antennas, and navigation systems. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Dr. Cohen was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NSF’s Engineering Directorate, where he focused on open access policies and on crowdfunding opportunities for the NSF.

Dr. William Michael Cunningham, Creative Investment Research

Bio: William Michael Cunningham received his MBA in Finance and a Masters in Economics from The University of Chicago. He is currently a Capstone student advisor in the Real Estate Program at Georgetown University. A strong advocate for the integration of human values in finance, he involves his students in developing new ways to combine social values and investing. His professional interests include environmental, social and governance investing, socially responsible investing and community development investing, and his current projects include writing books on crowdfunding, and writing about the impact of the financial crisis on communities of color. Mr. Cunningham serves as Managing Partner for National Crowdfunding Services, and owns Creative Investment Research.

Dr. Doug Golick, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska

Bio: Dr. Doug Golick is an Assistant Professor of Entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He conducts research in the area of science literacy learning. His research, teaching, and extension programs reach a wide audience including children and adults in both informal and formal learning settings. Some of these programs include Bumble Boosters (pollinator education and citizen science programming), NSF funded faculty teaching development workshops, native pollinator habitat conservation, conservation behavior research, and crop producer educational programming. In 2013, backers successfully funded Dr. Golick’s Build a Better Bumble Bee Domicile Project with over ($7,000 in funds received through the campaign and private donations). Over 200 bumble bee domiciles were delivered to collaborators in 17 countries for placement. To date, participants have posted hundreds of stories, posts, and pictures of their domiciles successes and failures in attracting bumble bees.

Ms. Adrienne Gonzalez, Founder and Benevolent Overlord, GoFraudMe

Bio: Adrienne Gonzalez is a freelance reporter and data analyst covering accounting, finance, and monetary policy for over ten years. Since 2015, she has curated the world's only resource dedicated to exposing and educating donors on personal crowdfunding fraud. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Reuters, TIME Magazine, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and the local affiliate TV station in Beaumont, Texas.

Dr. Nicole Hashemi, Assistant Professor, Iowa State University

Bio: Nicole Hashemi is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. Her research interests are in the areas of microfluidics, biomaterials, and diagnostics and therapeutics. She was the recipient of 2008 NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012 NRL Research Publication Award, 2015 Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award, and 2017 ISU Early Career Engineering Faculty Research Award. She has also been a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science invitee. Her research has been highlighted by BBC, Forbes, Science Friday, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ASME, IEEE, and MRS. Professor Hashemi has published over 65 journal and peer-reviewed conference articles, and given several invited national and international lectures.

Dr. Mark Jackson, Fiat Physica

Bio: Dr. Mark G. Jackson was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, earning his B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Duke University and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Columbia University under the supervision of Brian Greene. Dr. Jackson has authored almost 40 technical papers during his ten years of research experience at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Paris Centre for Cosmological Physics, the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. His research in theoretical physics and cosmology has included brane gas cosmology, cosmic superstrings, and signatures of ultra high energy physics in the cosmic microwave background. In 2008 he co-edited the NASA/Fermilab CMBPol Conference White Paper emphasizing the need for a polarization-dedicated satellite telescope. Realizing there was a shortage in scientific research funding, Dr. Jackson’s expertise in physics and enthusiasm for conveying science to the general public led him to create Fiat Physica to facilitate public support of scientific advancement.

Dr. Robin (Buz) Kloot, Research Associate Professor, University of South Carolina

Bio: Buz started his professional life as a chemical engineer and spent 12 years in the mining/mineral processing industry in Namibia, Africa.  In 1999, he joined the University of South Carolina and has been involved in various projects related to agriculture and environmental quality. Buz is passionate about working directly with farmers on soil health projects and research and how they can leverage the cover crop to improve crop performance both in terms of yield and savings in inputs.  Buz’s passion for soils has moved him into the roles of storytelling through video.  His documentary “Under Cover Farmers” and his recent series on the “Science of Soil Health” are available on line, are examples of his work. Buz is a research associate professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at USC’s Arnold School of Public Health and holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an MBA and PhD from the University of South Carolina.

Ms. Allison Mercer, Georgia Tech

Bio: Allison Mercer is the co-founder and former director of the pilot crowdfunding program for the Georgia Institute of Technology—Georgia Tech Starter.  Allison and the Georgia Tech Starter team developed a website to pilot crowdfunding research projects and outreach projects at Georgia Tech, with a review process.  The program ran for one year, terminating in the Fall of 2013 with three fully-funded projects, and nearly 100,000 visitors to the site.  At that time, the site transitioned to an internal crowd-sourcing site for strategic initiatives.  Georgia Tech Starter was mentioned at the 2013 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions, and was cited by example in The Entrepreneurship Movement and the University (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). Allison is a Senior Research Scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute with over 10 years of experience in applied research. She received her M.S. in physics from the University of Iowa, and her bachelor’s in mathematics and astrophysics from Agnes Scott College.

Dr. Ethan Mollick, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton

Bio: Prof. Ethan Mollick studies innovation and entrepreneurship, and has published papers in top academic journals on topics ranging from crowdfunding to entrepreneurial strategy. He is a Schultze Distinguished Professor and Kauffman Foundation Junior Faculty Fellow. Prof. Mollick also co-authored a book on the intersection between video games and business that was named one of the American Library Association’s top ten business books of the year, and has studied the way that games can be used to motivate performance and to educate. His entrepreneurship simulations and games are used by tens of thousands of students around the world. Prior to his academic career, he was co-founder of a company and a management consultant. Prof. Mollick has worked with organizations ranging from DARPA to General Mills on innovation and entrepreneurship. Ethan Mollick received his PhD (2010) and MBA (2004) from MIT's Sloan School of Management and his bachelor's degree from Harvard University, magna cum laude, in 1997.

Dr. Arcady Mushegian, Program Manager, NSF Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Bio: Dr. Mushegian completed his doctoral degree in Virology and Molecular Biology at Moscow State University. Most of his research has been in the area of computational analysis of genes and genomes. Since 2012, he has been a Program Director at the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, NSF. He has an Award of Merit from the International Lilac Society and Erdos number of 3.

Dr. Sandeep Patel, US Department of Health and Human Services

Bio: Sandeep is currently the HHS Open Innovation Manager and leads the Department's use of prizes, crowdsourcing, and other open innovation tools. Since 2010, HHS has run 140+ prizes to solicit solutions to problems integral to its mission (such as flu prediction, foodborne pathogen detection, peer review, and Medicaid management), developed cutting-edge technology (such as disease diagnostics, health IT products, wearables), and helped foster the next generation of biotechnology companies (through as startup challenges and business plan competitions). Sandeep is a physical chemist by training and has built his career around understanding and guiding scientific and technological insights to building products and services that ultimately improve lives on a global scale. Previously he has served in a number of science policy roles, including as a Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and as a scientific consultant for Thomson Reuters.  He also founded a company in Uganda focused on democratizing manufacturing through 3D printing.

Dr. Kathleen Pryer, Professor, Duke University

Bio: An evolutionary biologist who uses phylogenetic tools to study plants. Much of her work focuses on the “seed-free” vascular plants—ferns and lycophytes—two under-studied clades that provide a critical point of comparison for understanding the evolution of their closest relatives, the seed plants. Recently named a new genus of ferns (19 species) in honor of Lady Gaga. Successfully crowdfunded the sequencing of the first fern genome (Azolla), after repeated rejection by traditional funding sources, work that was then written up by The Economist.

Dr. Jai Ranganathan, Center Associate, UCSB and CoFounder, SciFund Challenge

Bio: Jai Ranganathan is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UC Santa Barbara, and Director of #SciFund Challenge, a nonprofit organization that empowers scientists to shrink the gap between science and society. Ranganathan is trained as a conservation biologist with a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. Through #SciFund Challenge, Ranganathan has trained over a thousand scientists in techniques designed to engage the public with science and to raise funds from the public via crowdfunding. In addition to his conservation biology-related articles, he has published two peer-reviewed papers on crowdfunding with further research forthcoming.

Dr. Lauren Rhue, Wake Forest University

Bio: Lauren Rhue, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics and an Exxon-Wayne Calloway Rising Faculty Fellow at the Wake Forest School of Business. Her research uses empirical and econometric methods to explore the economic and social implications of technology. Her most recent research projects examine the gender and racial disparities in crowdfunding success, and she is interested in investigating the economic implications of technology platforms and crowd-based capitalism for disadvantaged populations. Lauren lives outside of Charlotte, NC and is an alumna of NYU’s Stern School of Business (Ph.D. in Information Systems) and Stanford University (B.S. in Management Science and Engineering).

Ms. Christina Yeung, FTC Office of Technology Research and Investigation

Bio: Christina Yeung is a technologist in the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTECH). Christina designs and conducts research concerning emerging issues at the intersection of consumer protection and technology. Her previous research includes studies of financial technologies (including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer payment platforms), mobile app data collection practices, and connected devices. Prior to joining the FTC, Christina worked as a research analyst at a commercial bank. She holds a B.A in Economics from Bates College.

Acknowledgements: This workshop is funded by NSF Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences under Award #1745230 to the Georgia Institute of Technology