TDR Public Engagement and Crowdfunding Guide Launched
Better understand public engagement and crowdfunding
How can researchers better engage with their local community and build horizontal partnerships to localize research financing? This important question drove the development of a TDR practical guide and global qualitative evidence synthesis. TDR is the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. In partnership with TDR Global and SIHI, SESH developed a practical guide on public engagement and crowdfunding. Public engagement is a bidirectional communication between researchers and the public for mutual benefit. Crowdfunding is the process of engaging large groups of people who make monetary and non-monetary contributions to a project. The resulting practical guide is intended for researchers, especially those in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), to better understand public engagement and crowdfunding.

The project evolved out of a global crowdsourcing open call organized by the collaborative team in 2019. Over 600 people volunteered to contribute and ultimately five LMIC researchers received mentorship and support from TDR Global team. TDR Global is the part of TDR focused on public engagement and fostering mentorship. These researchers received training and support to develop public engagement skills related to infectious diseases of poverty research. Three of the five finalists launched crowdfunding campaigns and all of them reached or exceed their goals. “None of these LMIC researchers came into the project with extensive social media saviness or experience. But all of them were excited about public engagement and this passion led to partnerships that formed the foundation for effective crowdfunding” said Joe Tucker, a co-lead on the project.
In-depth research
In addition to the pilot program, the research team organized a qualitative evidence synthesis focused on crowdfunding for research. This in-depth exploration uncovered rich descriptions of public engagement and crowdfunding, providing useful tools, tips, and strategies. They also identified many open access resources that would be useful for people interested in crowdfunding for research.