Design the Revolution - A New Way to Allocate Grants


Update - 26/11/21

Grant Competition Deadline Extension

As we're nearing the end of the year when many researchers are very busy, we thought we'd give you extra time to enter. So, we're extending the competition by 10 days. The new dates are as follows:

  • Proposals can be posted until Dec 10th (Midnight GMT)
  • Voting will run from Dec 11th - 21st

We're looking forward to reading your entries!


Help us take open science to the next level by entering our co-design competition!

This year, we ran our first £10,000 Research Grant Competition. We'd like to run it again. But, we want to make the competition more open, and fair, while moving towards our overall vision.

Our Overall Vision

  • There are real problems with the systems that administer research funding, supervise peer reviews and publish scientific content.
  • We want to help address these problems by creating a radically different scientific funding and content system, which is governed entirely by the principles of open science. (More on that in later blog posts!)
  • The first step in this process is designing a completely open, fair and robust grant allocation process, where we'd provide funding, but you'd decide where it goes.
  • So, we need your help. We're opening a co-design competition where you can design the process you'd like to see, and win £1000 in Prolific credit.

Let's work together to open science for good!

What is Prolific’s Co-Design Competition?

We want to create a completely open grant allocation process that is run entirely by you - our community, end-to-end. That means:

  • Open Financing: We'll provide the funding, and our community of researchers will publicly vet research proposals, and award grants to the most innovative ones.
  • Open Methodology: All research proposals will be published publicly, along with their methodology.

The Prize

There's £1000, in Prolific credit, up for grabs. We'll award the funding in accordance with our evaluation criteria (below). Then, we'll commit £10,000 to a pilot test of the newly designed process in 2022, if there's a proposal that meets our criteria.

Why are we doing this?

At Prolific, we want to empower great research. Our mission is to make trustworthy data more accessible to everybody, in order to facilitate world-changing insights. But, we know that insights don't come cheap! Funding matters, and it can be hard to come by. So, we want to do our bit to help you make your next world-changing discovery, while moving towards our overall vision.

Am I eligible to enter?

This is open to absolutely everybody, at any stage of their career, in any research field, in any country.

How do I enter?

  1. Make sure your proposal includes [700 words max]:
    • Description of the problems you see with the wider way that grants are currently allocated
    • Summary of how your process would work, answering these questions:
      1. How do researchers submit a research proposal?
      2. How is funding allocated to the best proposals?
    • Description of how your process:
      1. Promotes fairness and awards funds according to merit
      2. Uses our existing community platform features like voting, liking, replying etc
      3. Minimizes online manipulation/gaming
      4. Is not overly burdensome on those seeking funding
      5. Adheres to the principles of open science
      6. Filters for high-quality submissions
  2. Submit your proposal on the forum
  3. Let the votes & co-design amendments roll in!

How does co-design work?

We want you to help each other create the best proposals possible. So, other researchers will be able to submit amendments to proposals by commenting on your post. If the original proposer accepts the amendment and incorporates it into their idea, we'll award £100 to the successful amender (if the amended proposal wins):

Example: Author A submits a proposal. Author B submits an amendment. Author A accepts the amendment. Author B is now eligible for £100, if the proposal wins. So, the more successful amendments you make, the greater your chances of winning credit. (A max of 10 amendments per proposal will be rewarded)

What is the prize?

There is a prize pot of £2000, in Prolific credit.

Original Author Prize

  • £1000 will go to the original author of the winning proposal.

Amendment Prizes

  • £1000 will be reserved for amendment prizes. Up to 10 amendments will be rewarded.

How will the winner be decided?

Proposals will be voted on by our community. Voting will begin on Dec 1st.

The 10 proposals that get the most votes will be evaluated by a Prolific review panel.

Evaluation Criteria

We will evaluate each proposal according to the extent to which the process described:

  • Makes good use of our community platform's features like voting, replying, and liking etc
  • Is easy for researchers to get involved in.
  • Minimizes online manipulation/gaming
  • Adheres to the principles of open science
  • Filters for high-quality submissions
  • Ensures that grants are awarded fairly, and according to merit.

When is the deadline? And when are winners announced?

Proposals can be posted from today (Nov 8th) until Dec 10th at midnight (GMT).

After that deadline, there will be a 10-day voting-only period:

  • From Dec 11th - 21st, all proposals will be available for evaluation and voting only.
  • We won’t be accepting new entries during this time.

What happens after the competition?

We'll review the proposals, and if we like them, we'll commit £10k to testing the winning entry in 2022.

Got more questions?

If you have any further questions, get in touch with Josh, our community manager 🙂

We have the resources, you have the knowledge, experience and expertise. Let's work together to open science for good!

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