Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Crowd-Sourcing Platform for Medical Research with Researcher Matching

Technology #5837

WellSpringboard is an award-winning online crowd-sourcing platform designed to foster public engagement in medical research. It enables the public to propose ideas and pledge funds for clinical research, and provides a way to match these ideas with researchers who apply to carry out that work. Crowd-funding allows people to make a tangible contribution to improving lives of their friends and loved ones by expediting the rate of medical innovation. This platform has proved to be a significant resource for companies and individuals, raising $2.7 billion in 2012, and doubling in 2013. Soliciting ideas from the public about medical research topics can provide valuable insight and focus clinical research activity on more practical, patient-centered questions. Traditional disease and physician centered health systems are costly and fragmented, and an estimated $750 billion are wasted annually by the U.S. healthcare system. WellSpringboard enables funding of medical research ideas that matter to the public.

WellSpringboard Platform Facilitates Patient-Researcher Partnership

A University of Michigan Health System team developed an online prototype platform where anyone can submit a medical research idea by creating a video describing the question or proposal and uploading it to the website. Other members of the public are then invited to endorse, financially support, or volunteer for the research study. Once the funding target is reached, interested researchers apply to carry out the research. Their applications are reviewed by scientists and the public and the best applicant is selected to perform the study. Subsequently, researchers post progress updates and findings on the website that ensure accountability to public interest, and can generate further ideas and new avenues of research. This platform will utilize the pay model used by Kickstarter where donations will be only collected for fully funded projects. It will provide an opportunity for the research community to respond directly to patients’ collective expression of need and establish a true partnership between patient and researcher.


  • Online crowd-sourcing platform for medical research


  • Facilitates public engagement and patient-researcher collaboration
  • Crowd-sourcing of ideas and funding for patient-centered research