Is it possible to crowdfund a PhD, like crowdfunding business?
While I'm sure its possible I haven't been able to find any examples of funding an entire PhD. However, there are quite a few examples of people crowd funding smaller individual research projects. I think there are two main reasons for this cost and accessibility.
It is really quite expensive to fund an entire PhD. If we look at the costs of a PhD (in the UK) we get.
- University fees: ~£4000 per year (~£15000 for non-EU students)
- Living expenses/stipend: ~£12000 per year
- Conferences/equipment/other stuff: ~£2-3000 per year +
- approx £20000 per year for 3-4 years = ~£60000 (>$100,000)
Compare this to the average successful crowdfunding amount of $7000 and you'll see why it'll be hard to raise that sort of money and would require a very strong marketing campaign. Which brings us nicely onto
One of the things a successful crowd funding project needs is a good sales pitch. You need to have a very clear goal that will excite lots of people to fund you. Not many PhD projects I know could possibly fall into this category.
For conventional crowd funding you also need to give something back to supporters to make it worth their while. While I suspect this would be less true for crowd funded research there are many people who might like to support you but cannot/will not without the prospect of some tangible return.
What seems to be more common is to fund smaller individual projects for ~$10-20000. For example http://blog.gogetfunding.com/crowdfunding-statistics-and-trends-infographic/ although there are some bigger and smaller examples in this article http://www.onlinephdprograms.com/dollars-for-doctors-a-guide-to-crowdfunding-academic-research/
a) People crowdfunding because they want something in exchange, a better world,clean some shame, a videogame and such.
b) PhD is a personal matter where the only people that earn something is the student. In a personal case, i want to obtain a PhD, however, i don't want others to obtain it, specially colleagues.
So a) and b) are opposite.
Then, the best way to achieve b) using a) is cheating. Like already said, for example, using marketing or being creative.
I believe your question is wrong, because if you are thinking in a PhD then, if you are reached at this stage of your life then you must have enough experience to know how this World works.
PhDs are expensive for many reasons, one of them is to "separate the wheat from the chaff", they think that if you are enough smart to accumulate such money then, you are enough smart to take the PhD (IMHO: but not enough smart to decide to not to do it and run your own business). However, it is not always true, some PhD are not quite rich nor brilliants, they are just "floating around here" (yes, im recalling some teacher that i had).
PS: it is not a personal attack but more likely an analysis to your question.