You know you need to find sources of financial support for your research, but it can be hard to know where to start, and the whole process may feel like a distraction from your academic work. The truth is, finding funding for your research requires a specific set of skills, and often, considerable practice.
Fundraising may seem like a lot of work - and it is - but it's doable, and fortunately or not, necessary. The resources on this page are intended to help you get a foothold in the world of research funding. They provide an overview of funding types and sources, and should give you a general understanding of how it all works.
We all know senior faculty members whose work is extremely well funded. They have big labs and/or programs. Big staffs. And are well respected, both within their own universities, and across their respective disciplines. So how do they do it?
The answer varies from person to person, of course, but one thing most of them have in common is that they know how to advocate for their work and be a successful fundraiser. They know how to identify people and organizations who can support their work and they understand the mechanisms (ranging from formalized requests for proposals (RFPs) to personal connections) that can get their ideas in front of donors. They know how to craft a winning proposal and understand the importance of honoring the terms of an award by meeting deliverable deadlines, following reporting requirements, and acknowledging support in publications and presentations (if required). Finally, they understand the importance of stewarding their relationships with donors so that each gift is not a one-off, but rather, one in a series of awards in support of their work.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and because any money you start to raise while you're at the Institute will ultimately go to support your work after you leave our campus, the policies and procedures of your home institution will play a major role in your fundraising efforts. As such, this point cannot be stressed enough: INVOLVE YOUR HOME INSTITUTION IN YOUR FUNDRAISING EFFORTS FROM THE BEGINNING. Whether it's obtaining IRB approval, determining an appropriate overhead rate for an award, or making sure that lab space and equipment will be accessible to support your research agenda, it is your home institution, not IAS, that can help you make the necessary arrangements.
Now you may be wondering, "If my home institution plays the central role, how can IAS help me raise money for my research after my tenure as a member is over?"
The answer is simple: while you're here, we can help you find the right funding opportunities to support your research, and work with you to hone submission materials to increase your likelihood of success. Essentially, IAS can help tee you up for research funding once your membership here ends, and this is very important because it can take as much as a year or more to obtain support from a new source, and we don't want to see the excitement and inspiration you cultivate here to falter due to a lack of funding.
A major first step in cracking the "black box" of research funding is understanding the way awards are structured, and the characteristics of typical funders. The charts below will help you get a handle on both these topics.
First things first, what types of funding mechanisms exist to support research and how are they different from one another?
What types of entities give out research funding and how do their awards typically operate?
Now that you have a general understanding of the types of awards a researcher can receive, and the kinds of funders available to support academic endeavors, it's time to begin the process of identifying opportunities that are a match for your efforts. These pages contain a variety of search engines for finding such opportunities, and guidance documents you can refer to as you begin to create submission materials. Below are some additional, external resources that can help improve your understanding of, and comfort with, the world of research funding.
External Resources To Help Increase Your Understanding of External Research Funding