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Funding Research

Crowdfunding, Farsalinos, research and the formation of the E-Research Foundation

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Most online vapers are probably familiar with the Doctor Farsalinos’ recent proposed research “Temperature of evaporation, liquid consumption and vapour analysis in realistic conditions.” Fewer may realise that, so far, ecig manufacturers and vendors have only managed to raise 20% of the sought for funds.

Farsalinos writes: “The crowdfunding campaign is addressed mostly to professionals and not e-cigarette consumers. We encourage you to get the word out and make some noise about our campaign, especially to e-cigarette professionals. Please use social media and Indiegogo sharing tools.”

The poor response halfway into the fundraising period raises the questions will the target be achieved, why have vested interests not supported it in dollars and, if the total falls short, what next for funding essential research?

One solution could be the formation of the E-Research Foundation. The ERF has been formed as a non-profit foundation (an application for charitable status has been lodged) with the aim of being a funding portal. It will set out to provide finance to researchers looking to publish work on electronic cigarettes and their use.

They say that: “Unlike other industries, which have the financial ability to fund their own research, most Electronic Vapor Products (EVPs) industry stakeholders are smaller entrepreneurial vendors and manufacturers. Smaller businesses do not have the ability to individually fund independent scientific research; thus, in the spirit of a professionally guided crowd-funding equivalent tool, ERF was formed to help raise the necessary funds.”

A laudable statement but the response to the aforementioned proposed “Temperature of Evaporation” research demonstrates that the will of vendors and manufacturers is either to not support ongoing research or demonstrates unresolved issues resulting from the recent study into eliquid toxins.

One manufacturer said: “the last crowdfunded research getting released behind a paywall and not rolled out to the vendors and manufacturers that helped fund it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.” He continued that the way the last research was handled essentially caused many problems before they had been given a chance to react.

A possible solution to this is that the ERF’s Board of Directors have assembled recognised leaders from all categories of the vaping market, including consumer advocates, to participate on the Grant Committee. “The committee members include leading representatives from: e-vapor device manufacturing, e-liquid manufacturing, non-manufacturing vendors, leading advocacy association senior executives, knowledgeable consumers, the leading international vapor forum, and public policy.”

All members of the ERF team are unpaid volunteers and so with no salaries to pay and small overheads almost all funds raised will be able to be directed towards research.

Donations to future research can be made from consumers, businesses or, if you want, targeted directly at a particular type of research. Time will tell if the community has the desire to support this venture and whether the researchers can accommodate its concerns.

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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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