Frequently Asked Questions


What is Petridish?

Petridish is a new way for scientists to showcase their research to the public, and for the public to show recognition to innovative researchers. We hand select the most interesting and meaningful projects we find to be featured on our site and then allow you to get involved.

Back your favorite projects with small donations, and in exchange, researchers will provide insider updates on their progress, acknowledgements and unique rewards.

How does "all-or-nothing" funding work?

Projects will only be funded if they reach their goal before the deadline set by the researcher. This protects both the researcher and the donors, since a minimum level of support is required before the project can be put into action. As a result, we wait until the funding deadline to see if we should charge your card.

The only way to be sure a project will get fully funded is if you share it with your friends and family.

Is Petridish a nonprofit?

No, Petridish was incorporated as a for-profit organization. Like craigslist and many other for-profit organizations, we use the .org to symbolize our public service mission and the relatively non-commercial nature of our company.


What kinds of rewards can I receive?

Every reward is unique to its project and designed to allow you to be a part of new discoveries. Some rewards offered on Petridish include:

  • Souvenirs from the field, like a rock from the highest peak in Madagascar or a vial of water from 400 feet below the surface.
  • Talks or dinners with famous researchers
  • Limited edition photographs or artistic renditions of the subject matter
  • Acknowledgements in journals
  • Naming rights for new discoveries, like new species
  • In person participation in a field project

Who is responsible for the completion of the project and the delivery of the rewards?

The project and the rewards are the sole responsibility of the researcher who created the project on the website. Petridish takes no responsibility for the completion or results of the research project, or the delivery of rewards offered.

When and how are the rewards sent?

If the project is successful, the researcher will contact you through our website at your Petridish email address to collect any information required, such as shipping information, or t-shirt size.

Depending on what the reward is, it can take time to receive it. For instance, a t-shirt can come in a matter of weeks, while the naming right to a new species or an acknowledgment in a journal can take months or longer.

If you are unsure about a specific reward that you want, you should contact the researcher before pledging.

How can I ask a question about a reward?

You can contact the researcher directly through the comments section on their project page.

Payments & Pledges

Are my pledges tax-deductible?

As a general rule, pledges are not tax deductible. We like to think of backing a project as a way to build a relationship with a researcher, and be a part of a new discovery or adventure, rather than charity anyway.

However, certain projects may be tax-deductible if the project creator arranges for the funds to be sent to a verified 501c3. In this case, if a project is offering tax-deductibility, it will be clearly stated on the project page. Questions about tax-deductibility should be sent directly to the project creator.

Who processes the payments?

Petridish uses either Amazon Payments or Stripe to process all transactions, depending on the preference of the project creator. Both companies are safe and trusted payments providers with great reputations. Petridish itself never saves your credit card information.

When are the cards charged?

Petridish only charges your credit card if a project exceeds its goal. When you initially pledge, we only perform a temporary authorization. Once the deadline passes, your card is charged if the project is successful.

What is the $1 charge on my card?

At the time of the pledge, we perform an authorization on the card to confirm it is valid. As a result, you may see a pending charge from Amazon Payments, Petridish, or Stripe in the meantime. This may show up as a $1 pending transaction, but will ultimately never be processed.

What will show up on the credit card statement?

The charge on the card can show up differently depending on the payment processor selected by the project creator and whether it is a pending or actual charge.

During the authorization period you may see a pending charge from either Online payment processor, Amazon Payments, or

Once the card is actually charged, the transaction will show up as ASI*Petridish or

Project submission

Petridish is not currently accepting new projects.