From students for students
Fundraising for scientific projects
Jan, you and your team are working on CrowdTUM. What is that exactly?
Jan Kochanowski: CrowdTUM is a crowdfunding platform for scientific projects by students. It lists projects of students who are looking for financial support. We are addressing everyone who is connected to TUM in some way. The aim is to find donors for promising projects in the context of scientific work or a non-profit purpose.
How did you get the idea to create a crowdfunding platform?
At the beginning of our project phase at the Junge Akademie, it was clear that we wanted to support students with their ideas. First, we contemplated some kind of fair or exchange event, but after doing a bit of research, we realized that students often need financial help more urgently in order to realize their project. Thus, we came up with the idea of creating a crowdfunding platform.
How does your platform work?
Anyone who has an idea can send us an e-mail with the basic data, and we will check if the project can actually be realized. Then, we put it on our platform and call for donations. If the required amount is reached, we collect the money and transfer it to the recipient. As easy as that..
What are the criteria that have to be met to be listed on the platform?
It has to be designed and carried out in a scientific manner. That is very important for us and we'll try to verify this at the very beginning. We also try to ensure it is a manageable project for the team and that the amount of money they are asking for is reasonable and matching for the goal they want to achieve. The trust of the backers (donors) is very important to us.
What is conceivable in terms of content?
We are relatively free in terms of content, and we are actually hoping that the projects will be as diverse as possible. However, we'll check beforehand whether a realization is possible, because we naturally feel we have to ensure that the donors will spend their money wisely.
Which projects are already looking for donors?
So far, we have not actively advertised our site, but there are already very exciting projects online. A student of Architecture is looking for donors as she is planning to build up a vocational school in Sumatra as part of her Master's thesis. This is very exciting and, above all, it combines scientific research with a charitable purpose.
What are the next steps for CrowdTUM?
We are now starting to actively promote the platform. Until summer, we will evaluate how successful the site is. The project is about investigating whether crowdfunding at TUM can work at all – in comparison with international universities, where similar projects have already been established, but also in comparison with large crowdfunding sites that work very well but do not focus on science as much as we do at TUM. In addition, we are already in discussion with TUM as to whether it would make sense for the site to be continued and operated by TUM itself.
(Interview: Sabrina Czechofsky)
Jan Kochanowski (21) is a TUM student of Physics in his 5th Bachelor's semester. He had already heard about the Junge Akademie before his studies and has been actively involved in it since his 3rd semester. In addition to his current project, Jan is also involved in the Taskforce International, which aims to improve the international network of the Junge Akademie. More information: crowd.ja.tum.de