Frugal Science

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As a society, we find ourselves surrounded by planetary-scale challenges ranging from lack of equitable health to environmental degradation to loss of biodiversity. Frugal science is the art of solving such problems with emergent simplicity, cost-effectiveness and scale.

Science Lead: Manu Prakash


Challenge Amount:
$100,000
Submission Deadline:
Mar 18, 2024
Campaign Launch:
Mar 18, 2024

How this works

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Learn more about Experiment challenges on the challenges main page.

Challenge Aims

Everyone has the capacity to do science—to apply the scientific method to problems and questions that arise in their world. Frugal science is the growing movement that seeks to provide accessible tools and a community of practitioners to achieve that vision.

 Imagine looking at a kid’s toy in just the right way - realizing that it could crack open a major problem that has plagued us for centuries. Welcome to the approach we call “Frugal Science,” a problem solving paradigm combining rigor and creative play. 

Everyone has the capacity to do science — to apply the scientific method to problems and questions that arise in their world. Frugal science is the growing movement that seeks to provide accessible tools and a community of practitioners to achieve that vision. Frugal science tools can also help to encourage innovation by providing individuals and organizations with the resources they need to develop and test new ideas and theories. This can lead to new discoveries and advancements in scientific knowledge. We want to support the development of new tools and the novel questions being asked with these tools.

The call will support both development of new frugal science tools or new utility or applications of already existing tools. We deeply care about “scale” from the onset of development process. Bold ideas that can rapidly scale and bring a community-oriented approach to deployment are highly encouraged.


ROLLING SUBMISSIONS:  The goal of this small, fast grant program is to get these projects off the ground quickly. If selected, the grant (up to $10,000 with the average Science Engine grant being $4,000) towards an ongoing Experiment project. Project leads are encouraged to try to raise additional support from the crowdfunding process, as granted amounts may only cover part of the project funds. The sooner you fill out a project application the better (use the "start a project" link below). In addition to funding, we hope to stay engaged with the projects as mentors and supporters, helping to make the experiments a success. 

[Cover Image Credit: Atelier Colpizen (@Colpizen)]

Project Eligilibity

Projects must meet Experiment project guidelines and funding discretion rests with the Science Lead.