If you spend any time reading news articles in print or online these days you’ve probably come across an interesting couple of lines of text. I’m talking about sentences that either start with ‘clinical studies show…’ or end with ‘…according to recent research.’
Have you ever wondered where these studies take place and who volunteers to participate in this kind of research? Well, as it turns out, its people just like you and depending on the study, they make a pretty good income hiring themselves out as a human guinea pig. In fact, there’s so many different kinds of human trials being conducted in locations all over the world there is potential of making thousands of dollars.
If you are already on a limited income or are about to transition into retirement, wouldn’t this make things just a bit easier? Let’s first get rid of the stigma that may come from the term ‘human guinea pig’ as all you are doing is allowing your body to be used for test purposes. For example, maybe a pill manufacturer has developed a new coating to make their product easier to swallow. After a week of taking the pill you fill out some forms with your observations and they hand you a check as you leave.
Another medical study paid volunteers $3,000 to fight a flu virus. Essentially the volunteers, who were either unemployed or took time off work, were ‘infected’ with the live H1N1 flu virus and were observed in an isolation ward for a nine day period. Each volunteer earned $333 per day. NASA paid volunteers $15,000 each for a different study that saw each of them spend a few months in bed.
Many universities conduct studies including UC Berkeley, the University of North Carolina and Northwestern University and pay between $10 and $30 an hour to volunteers. Some other studies pay a lot more such as the one where a volunteer earned $1,500 to gamble for fifteen hours while undergoing fMRI brain scans. The same volunteer pocketed $500 for consuming a radioactive drug in another study.
Medical trials are common and as such are considered relatively safe to participate in. Examples include getting paid to eat certain foods or something that isn’t outside your normal behavior. One fellow made $2,000 recently as part of a series of tobacco-related studies and since he was already a smoker, there was no additional risk to his health. In fact, in the study, Elliot Sharp sat and watched anti-smoking public service announcements while smoking then answered a number of questions. His responses helped researchers determine the level of effectiveness the ads had on him.
If you are considering the ‘human guinea pig’ route to pocket some extra coin you can sign up in various ways, but the easiest way to find the opportunities is to look online. Craigslist has a number that show up when you search for “research volunteers” under the heading of ‘gigs’ and if you are a diabetic, for example, you can make specific searches for “diabetes research volunteer” or whatever condition you may have in order to find a possible match with a study where you would have one key component in the qualifying criteria.
If you don’t have any health conditions you can register to be a participant in the Clinical Research Volunteer Program (CRVP) which is operated by the National Institute of Health (NIH). When you are listed as a participant in a NIH study, you will be compensated along with thousands of other healthy volunteers who take part in NIH research programs annually across the United States and around the globe.
NIH also operates ClinicalTrials.gov and you can find different opportunities there by just searching their database with keywords to locate studies. You can also use your favorite search engine online and ask for such things as ‘sleep studies’ or ‘research recruiting’ or ‘study volunteer.’
Here are a couple of useful tips for you…once you find a study that interests you and you think you’d like to register as a participant be sure to read all the details related to the eligibility of that particular study. You need to pay attention to the ‘inclusion criteria’ and ‘exclusion criteria’ to determine if you actually do qualify to be part of that specific study. Age, gender, lifestyle, health conditions and a long list of other specifics may include you in one study while the same information may exclude you from another, so be sure to pay attention to those details.
You can also search through the NIH website to find upcoming studies or sign up for regular updates on research programs at PaidResearchStudies.org. Also visit GPGP.net, an online directory of studies and trials in North America, Europe and the UK. GPGP stands for Guinea Pigs Get Paid. At the site, you’ll find trials ranging from sleep deprivation, exercise, diet and nutrition studies, cognitive studies, skin studies, egg and sperm donation sites, even consumer product testing.