Micro-internships for the on-demand, sharing economy we live in
Humans began sharing information 40,000 years ago (cave paintings). Since that time, and especially in the last 20 years, the speed and scale with which goods and services are traded has been amplified. Arbitrage (private goods and services) can be sold immediately via online marketplaces thereby maximizing utilization- cars, books, stocks, apartments, 3D printers, handymen, etc.
We're extending that trend to high skill university research talent. Jason Fried (Ruby on Rails inventor) says in his book Rework (paraphrasing): "interviews are only worth so much. Hire someone for a miniproject and you'll see how they make decisions." It also gives the candidate that critical work experience to launch their careers.
Jason Fried (Ruby on Rails inventor, author of Rework) talks of switching from a non productive interview process to a miniproject process
here. We are making that happen on a global scale
here. Companies get quality work, brand recognition, and future business leaders. Researchers get critical work experience and get paid.