James Cook University (JCU) researchers say it is tough to expand their knowledge in a country where every dollar spent on research is sacred.

Some academics are getting creative, however, after finding themselves forced to look for alternative ways to fund new projects.

One JCU research needed just $20,000 for their work on a simple and almost instant way to root out the soil-borne disease melioidosis. When their funding application was rejected by the government, the team embarked on an online crowd-funding campaign to get the help they needed.

Tragically, the effort fell short, as researcher could only muster half the amount they needed.

JCU scientist Alanna Sorenson says it is disheartening to get so close to realising an idea, only to have it remain on paper.

“It probably won't happen now unless we manage to, well the people after me I suppose, manage to be more successful in getting some funding,” she said.

“We did get a good response I suppose but because it's always mostly small pledges of money, you need lots of people to agree to give some to add up to enough... we were pretty much forced to do it after we didn't get the funds we were after.”