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Two former researchers have joined forces with a computer scientist to develop a service that matches scientists with grant opportunities, Nature News reports. The trio's web- and email-based service, called Instrumentl, has more than 10,000 users, it adds, noting that some 1,000 researchers have signed up each week since a free option was announced. There are also paid versions.

"We realized that bringing technology to this grants space — which hasn't really seen much innovation — could make a big impact," COO Katharine Corriveau, a former agriculture researcher, tells Nature News.

Lauren Satterfield, a doctoral student in ecology at the University of Washington who has a free account, likens the service to a dating site. She tells Nature News that it took her just a few minutes to enter information about herself and her research and that Instrumentl flagged some 40 grants opportunities for her within a day. Instrumentl also learns users' preferences over time, much like music or movie sites, to better tailor its recommendations, Nature News adds.

Currently, the service covers fields like evolution, ecology, and soil science, among others, and plans to add human biology next year. It also draws on mostly US-based grants.

The University of Colorado's Zoe Donaldson, who doesn't use the service, notes at Nature News that the service doesn't include grant success rates and funding priority details.

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