A new startup is changing the way that science and scientists operate around the world, and it may just become the future of scientific study and advancement. Science Exchange
is an eBay-like service providing access and funding to scientists’ equipment and expertise all around the world. Funded by YCombinator and started by cofounders Elizabeth Iorns and Dan Knox in August of last year, the web company has already allowed scientists and research labs to greatly accelerate the speed at which they can pursue their projects, and the efficiency with which their funding is allocated. They do this by using a network of scientists and researchers, also using Science Exchange
, to outsource various components of their work.
The service allows scientists to go onto the “Exchange” and find other scientists or researchers that specialize in the area of work that they need completed. They then pay this individual or individuals to complete that portion of the project while they continue on with other areas of the work that are more in line with their own specialties. Likewise, they can increase their own funding for projects by taking on a component of another lab’s work. As reported in Singularity Hub, it’s about opening up access to experts and specialized equipment in various fields. In this age of highly specialized technological and scientific information, many scientists lack the expertise to address certain aspects of a scientific experiment or innovation, and so must find some other professional in the field with those skills. Science Exchange makes this easy and mutually beneficial by carefully vetting members of the exchange, and then giving them access to their worldwide network.
Much like eBay, they go well beyond simply managing the science market’s access and vetting their members. They provide a rating system for providers and clients, and help providers to market themselves to the broader scientific community. They also will manage the financial transactions between various research labs and providers and will even help those labs find the providers they need to complete their projects; all for a sliding commission of, at the most, 5% of the total cost (as the cost goes up the commission comes down). The average total savings, according to Iorn, amounts to 54% reduction in cost to clients. High-end providers would often charge up to twice the cost of the lowest end providers, simply because they were the most easily accessible. Science Exchange
has managed to single-handedly increase access for everyone, equalizing the playing field for smaller research labs and science facilities and forcing the higher-end providers to lower their costs to remain competitive.