For us, doing $2500 worth of research would mean that whatever of our time we weren't spending on that specific research, we would have to spend producing some kind of income. No one compensates us for the time we spend.
For 2 members of the UGA entomology department, the time they spend doing that research is compensated in salary _and_ health insurance (I assume). The computers they use (and the office software they use) are paid for, maintained, and periodically upgraded by the university. Any analytical equipment they need is likely on hand. Other professors that (as part of their salaried positions) are willing to help with statistical data or experimental design input.
I agree that there are some interesting low cost study ideas out there (several in my head)....but any of these things requires a lot of time. I've already started to lay out what I think a good design would be for some of this research....no one has commented. I know I can't afford to do it for free, and I know that in my own circumstance, that my overhead makes $2500 not enough to do much worthwhile. Why aren't the researchers asked to volunteer their time as well?
As far as volunteers go....everyone raise your hands if you will let some volunteers run some of your hives for you.....no one? You'd rather actually have people who need the income and are willing to do what you need when and in the way you tell them you want it done? Really? I would think that the promise of competent free labor would cause all commercial beekeepers to recruit new beekeepers from the local bee club to help out for free.