The platform, called Guaana, has an unusual way of working. All eligible proposals were distributed among applicants who then evaluated each other’s proposals in a two-stage double blinded peer-review based on the criteria previously set by Dubai Future Foundation. The funding decision was based solely on the collective scoring and feedback, and no external committee was involved.
“When piloting a model that is changing the status quo, it is always hard to predict the outcome. We at Guaana can be very proud of how smoothly it all went, despite unorthodox principles such as openness and short time discipline. Scientists proved that autonomous grant distribution can work. There are many lessons learnt from this pilot, and improvements are being implemented to upcoming funding calls. ” said Guaana’s CEO Marko Russiver.
The latest call for projects by Guanna was for space-related projects under an initiative called the Mohammed bin Rashid (MBR) Space Settlement Challenge grant fund. Its initial fund of $540,000 was put up by the Dubai Future Foundation to fund all areas of research that explore bold ideas and radical solutions for living and working in space.
The call for eleigible projects received a total of 260 applications from 55 countries out of which 230 complied with the eligibility criteria. Proposals were submitted from over 200 universities, including most of the top universities in the world such as M.I.T, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Oxford, University of Tokyo.
Funded projects explore various concepts from a sustainable settlement of new planets to mining in-situ resources and mushrooms as a life support system for humans. The novel funding model has been received warmly by the participants with an endorsement for more funding calls to be posted.
Since transparency is one of the core principles of Guaana’s funding model, all funded proposals were made public on May 24th, including scores and comments with the reviewer profile. This unique approach allows everyone to see how each proposal was evaluated, by whom and effectively how the funding decision was reached. Not only can everyone see, but they can also get involved and meta-evaluate the reviewers, endorsing good conduct and public accountability.
Grant agreements are now being processed and proceedingsare to be completed by June 24th.
Funded authors and teams will then get to work on their proposed research projects for the next 6 months with the collective intelligence of Guaana’s community at their disposal. They can share their progress updates and challenges with fellow researchers from the cohort and around the world, who can then help them overcome obstacles more effectively than working on their own or in a closed circle.
Guaana’s open research funding platform helps researchers find relevant funding as well as allies and sparring partners for nascent research projects. Founded in Estonia in late 2014, it has attracted a community of scientists and experts from 157 countries.
Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) was launched in April 2016 by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose horse, Masar (pictured), won the Derby last weekend.