About External Funding
External research funding is available from a variety of sources, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations. Typically, external funding can best be broken down into a few sponsor types.
Where to begin
Determine your audience
Who (besides you) would want to fund this project to make it become a reality? If there are potential collaborators, contact them as soon as possible so that you can maximize resources and work together to ensure that all collaborators are on board with the project from the conception phase.
Plan the approach
- Do your homework to determine the best fit.
- Do similar projects exist at other institutions? Often, you can search the web or contact a project lead at the institution to determine what sources of funding they were able to find.
- Use databases and the internet. Search for funding agencies or foundations that support similar projects. In most cases, you can find examples of previously funded projects, including abstracts, funding amounts, project lengths, and other relevant information.
- Email/call for the agency’s latest annual report and funding guidelines; be tenacious but friendly.
- Build a relationship with the program contact at the agency you are seeking funding from. Have questions ready such as: how does your project fits within the guidelines? or Which funding opportunity or mechanism is the best fit? Call or email the program contact; they are a great resource and in most cases are willing to discuss and be helpful.