Vanguard STEM

Hot Science Summer: Get funding to do YOUR science. Your way.

A SeRCH Foundation, Inc. + Experiment Foundation collabo. Fresh out of the VanguardSTEM hyperspace, especially for our #VSVillage.

A femme-presenting person sticking their tongue out and holding up the “peace” sign, with the words “Hot Science Summer. Do YOUR science” written stylistically. Also contains the logos for VanguardSTEM and the SeRCH Foundation, Inc.

Imagine that you have an idea for an experiment that you’ve always wondered about but never had the opportunity or resources to pursue. Or imagine that you had a great idea for a summer research project, but didn’t get the slot you wanted this year.

Now imagine if there were a way to pitch your project idea publicly and get donations from backers to support your science research project. (Think kickstarter for science!)

Then imagine that you’ve launched your project, are getting some solid backers, and then a non-profit organization committed to using science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as a tool for social justice gave your project a financial boost to catapult you into the thick of the aforementioned research question you dreamt up. Now imagine if all that were real…

Well it is, and we call it HOT SCIENCE SUMMER!

Rihanna in a blue jacket on a talk show making the schmoney sign with her fingers and nails.

VanguardSTEM’s parent non-profit, The SeRCH Foundation, Inc., is partnering with the Experiment Foundation to pilot a new way of encouraging scientific investigation, which we call Science Catalysts. There’s a lot to be said about why we created this particular initiative, so stay tuned for more of the theory side in a follow-up article.

In this post we’ll discuss how you can participate in our pilot launch of Hot Science Summer and be part of our inaugural Hot Science Set. (Editor’s note: You can find out more about the initial conception of Science Angels, the precursor of Science Catalysts, as conceived by David T. Lang, Entrepreneur and Executive Director of the Experiment Foundation.)

TL; DR. The SeRCH Foundation, Inc., hosted by VanguardSTEM, is launching Hot Science Summer! We will give away $50,000 to seed a thriving set of research projects on Experiment that are launched by members of the #VSVillage: Black, Indigenous, women of color and non-binary people of color, and marginalized communities of all gender identities who are interested in STEM. Launch a project between June 14–25 to join our Hot Science Set and be eligible for a financial boost!

Read on to learn more about this brand new project!

Do YOUR science.

Experiment is the largest crowdfunding platform for scientific research with a funding success rate of 44%. Experiment’s mission is to democratize the research process and remove barriers to scientific success. The average budget of a successful proposal is $4,000. SeRCH is a non-profit that uses STEM as a tool for social justice and is the parent non-profit for VanguardSTEM. We live and breathe STEM identity and the ability to express yourself as a scientist on your own terms.

The Hot Science Summer initiative is specially designed to catalyze your ability to do YOUR science. Just as you are. With your community. Right now.

A Black femme-presenting person with a fresh twistout holding a prism.

You can pitch a project in any area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and/or science and technology studies, STEM cultural studies, or the like. Projects at any level will be considered. No STEM degree is required for participation in Hot Science Summer — just be creative and clear with your hypothesis. You will be asked to explicitly describe how your project uses the intersectional scientific methodology, which is key to this instance of the VanguardSTEM hyperspace.

Since this is a pilot project, we will not be able to financially boost every project submitted as part of Hot Science Summer (at least, not at first! Scroll down to help us expand this program!), but we will signal boost all of the launched projects across our social media platforms to help you increase your ability to get backers, and we hope you hype your project too.

Any project launched during Hot Science Summer is considered part of our Hot Science Set! In addition, for those of you who are selected for a Hot Science Summer Boost, the SeRCH Foundation will become a backer of your project, to help you reach your goal. Any project that meets its funding goal on Experiment will receive their funds and be able to complete their project, whether they are backed by the SeRCH Foundation, or not. Any project can be supported by any backer, at any time during the project’s active phase. So definitely enlist your community, on and offline, to support your science.

Get this schmoney. Do YOUR science.

The timeline of events.

Hot Science Summer will run from June 14— July 31, with a virtual symposium at the end of the summer.

June 14–25: Pitch your project for Hot Science Summer to become part of the Hot Science Set. (And be one of the first to know if any fun surprises arise!)

June 25–27: The SeRCH Foundation and some esteemed members of the #VSVillage, will pick a subset of those projects to give a Hot Science Summer Boost to help them get their projects fully funded.

June 28–30: Hot Science Summer Boost funds from the SeRCH Foundation are disbursed for your project! You’ll have to sign some paperwork, but after that, the funds will be added to your project.

June 14— July 31: Hot Science Summer project activity window. Keep hyping your project and getting backers, or if you’re fully funded, do YOUR science.

September 15ish: Hot Science Symposium. More details to follow, but we’re going to have a blast!

Who can apply.

All members of the #VSVillage, which includes Black, Indigenous, women of color and non-binary people of color in STEM, and marginalized communities of all gender identities who are interested in STEM. Advocates of the #VSVillage are also encouraged to apply. Hot Science Summer is open to all interested researchers, subject to the below eligibility criterion.

You must be 18 or older to create a project. Those under 18 can still participate if they have parent(s), legal guardian(s) and/or meaningful other(s) above 18 to manage the project on experiment. If this applies to you, please make this clear in your project description.

How to participate in Hot Science Summer.

  • Start a project on The SeRCH Foundation, Inc. grant portal between June 14–25. All projects will undergo internal review before being listed on the site. (Projects that include human subjects will require IRB approval.)
  • Address explicitly how your project fits into the intersectional scientific methodology (ISM) and the VanguardSTEM hyperspace, as described in our recent paper.
A flowchart of the intersectional scientific methodology.
A summary of the intersectional scientific method, from our recent peer-reviewed paper. You must respond to the prompt on our experiment grant page to be eligible to win funds for Hot Science Summer.
  • Set your research project to last through July 31, 2021 to qualify for a #HotScienceSummer boost.
  • Post at least 1 lab note and 1 project update to your project, between June 14–25.
  • Post at least 3 times to your social media accounts about your project, using #HotScienceSummer, between June 14-–25.
Hot Science Summer: Get funding to do YOUR science. Your way.
SeRCH and VS waiting for you to answer this call.
  • Present at the Hot Science Symposium at the end of the summer and “publish” your results. (We broadly interpret what publish means; basically we want you to share your findings publicly, just like the rest of your project!)

Helpful resources to get you started.

  • Review the experiment researcher’s guide to get valuable insight about how to craft a well-stated hypothesis with a clearly articulated budget.
  • Check out some of the featured projects on experiment to get a sense of a compelling research project.
  • Here and here are two helpful articles about crafting solid experiment proposals by Bayleigh Murray, a member of the Experiment community. (Editor’s note: We aren’t huge fans of Feynman around this camp, but Bayleigh has GREAT advice in these articles, so please do check them out.)

Have more questions?

We will have an informational session for those interested in participating on Monday, June 21, 2021 at 5pm ET, which we will record and make available on our website and the grant page for future reference.

How you can help.

Support the scientists. Easy peasy! Just go to the The SeRCH Foundation, Inc. Hot Science Summer grant portal on experiment and become a backer for any (or all!) of the projects you’re interested in supporting. Any project that meets their funding goal will be able to carry out their research project throughout the summer. So come through and help them be great!

Support the initiative. If you like the way we are creating our own lane, putting equity in action and catalyzing science research for members of our #VSVillage and marginalized communities of all gender identities, you can donate directly to the SeRCH Foundation, Inc for our Science Catalyst/Hot Science Summer initiative. We’ll use those funds in the same way we used these, mostly to support more public science projects and some to support the team that administers this paradigm-shifting program.

The STEM en Route to Change (SeRCH) Foundation, Inc. is a registered, 501(c)(3) organization and the parent non-profit for VanguardSTEM. All U.S.-based donations to The SeRCH Foundation, Inc. are tax-deductible.

This article first ran on June 14, 2021 as part of our initial launch of Hot Science Summer; a collaboration with The Experiment Foundation.

Share the Post: