Assay Depot of San Diego and New York-based Genspace have launched the Tri-State Open Science Challenge, a science competition open to citizen scientists and bioartists who want to translate their ideas into reality. Three projects will receive $5,000 in research funding and a one-year membership to Genspace, a community biotechnology laboratory in Brooklyn, NY. One under-18 project will receive $1,000 in research funding.
One award will go to a bioartist who uses science to create works of art. Another award sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) will go to a project focused on biological or chemical detection. The third award is open to any proposal.
"Open Science is about lowering the barriers to scientific innovation," said Kevin Lustig, Assay Depot's CEO. "We need to empower both citizen and professional scientists to have any hope of tackling the enormous problems facing our planet today. We host these Open Science competitions in community laboratories around the world to make science accessible to everyone."
Applicants must submit a one- to two-page written proposal, a brief (less than five-minute) video or a five-slide presentation that explains their hypothesis and research plan, by Oct. 19. Awards will be announced in November.
The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) biology movement has grown rapidly in the past two years, with community laboratories now open in eight major cities in the US, Canada, the U.K. and France. With crowdfunding web sites, community labs, online research marketplaces and free, online publication channels, citizen scientists can now manage the full spectrum of drug discovery and development.
"Both Genspace and Assay Depot are committed to the idea that science should not be limited to well-funded academic or industry researchers, but should be open to everyone to collaborate, identify and solve the many problems that concern us all," said Ellen Jorgensen, Genspace founder.
Genspace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology, providing educational outreach, cultural events and a platform for science innovation at the grassroots level. Assay Depot operates a network of online research marketplaces that empower scientists. By dramatically streamlining purchases between citizen and professional scientists and more than 8,000 global research suppliers, Assay Depot is changing the way life science research is done.