Diabetes Research Connection—The Idea Factory—Powered By You


Editor’s note: Beyond Type 1 is proud to partner with Diabetes Research Connection to accelerate novel research designed to prevent and cure type 1 diabetes, minimize its complications and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease.

English mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, “Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.” In regards to type 1 diabetes, not only must something be done with ideas about how to eradicate the disease or how to make life better for those living with it, but there is no time to waste.

Testing ideas with evidence is at the heart of the process of science and yet there are countless ideas locked in the minds of researchers, scholars and inventors, but mainstream funding rarely supports them. Ninety-seven percent of funding that is currently available for diabetes goes to established scientists, while scientific breakthroughs often emerge due to the inventiveness of early—career scientists. 

We want to change that—and so do the people behind Diabetes Research Connection. Their smart, transparent process is like an idea factory—where ideas cycle through the process of science, are modified, expanded and combined into more powerful explanations. The ideas that are successful move on to fill the pipeline of projects eligible for consideration for larger, more traditional funding. The crowd of people seeking solutions to diabetes—that’s you—power the factory by choosing which projects receive your support.

How Does It Work?

Scientists from across the United States submit a one-page application to Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) for consideration. The 80+ members of the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) evaluate each proposal for innovation, value and feasibility. If the scientific concept is approved, the research project goes live on DRC’s website and the community is invited to fuel the work. In other words, DRC has done all of the work vetting the science and then utilizes crowdfunding to ensure that innovative ideas can be pursued. Gifts as small as $1 are made through the DRC website—directly to the project and scientist you select. Donors have the power to select the research project or projects they wish to fund, with donations as small as $1.

The entire process is transparent and funding, a maximum of $50,000 for each project, can be provided in as few as 12 weeks; 100 percent of funds designated for research go directly to the scientists’ lab you choose. To further ensure transparency, each researcher provides exclusive updates on their project directly to supporters and posts final outcomes on the website. 

Despite the prevalence of type 1 diabetes, funding has decreased for research to prevent, cure and better manage the disease, and remains especially scarce for early-career scientists. Albert Einstein revealed his theory of general relativity at 26. Banting and Best discovered insulin before they turned 33. Imagine our world today if these scientists had not received funding for their research to test their ideas. Without a reliable and consistent source of funding, the number of researchers in diabetes is going to continue declining and a cure will be that more elusive. 

The power of an idea matched with the power of the community’s support may very well be what unlocks the key to a cure for the millions of people plagued with this disease. Visit Diabetes Research Connection to review the projects currently approved and seeking funding. Be the difference and support a research project today!

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