With just over two weeks left in the SciFund Challenge, now is the time to spend some time perusing the fantastic selection of projects vying for your donations. If you aren't yet aware of what the challenge is for, you can check out some informative posts about it here and here. One of the greatest aspects of the challenge is the requirement for scientists to pitch their research plans to a public audience. This means that they've got to step away from their usual academic funding agencies (and stuffy proposals) and present the world with a research proposal that speaks to the masses - and many have done this through clever video productions.
Take Zen Faulkes for example. Zen is a neurobiologist at the University of Texas Pan American, and his quirky video tells the tale of his plans for an Indiana Jones type expedition to collect crayfish. It's entertaining and fun while giving a clear explanation of the importance of the research.
Another of my favorites is by Bree Putman, who gives us an epic battle between robo-squirrel and a rattlesnake. She takes a literal approach to the evolutionary arms race by placing squirrels and snakes together in a boxing match.
Jarret Burnes gives us a scientific comedy film, poking fun at the 'ease' with which plant ecologists can take samples compared to his research areas under the ocean. The film is seamless, with great sound effects, clever editing, and spectacular underwater footage.
Daniel Mietchen's proposed project is about transforming the way in which scientific literature is published. Although the topic is a very serious one that you wouldn't imagine makes for an interesting film, Daniel has created a very entertaining video with the help of artist Perrin Ireland. The stop motion coupled with Perrin's fantastic sketches make this one a winner!
Finally, I give kudos to Rob Dunn and the Wild Life Team, who frame their video like a movie preview. It lends itself well to such a treatment because their research is all about bacteria and other 'scary' organisms living in every nook and cranny of your home and body. The progression from the street, into the house and finally to the bedroom is well executed.