Where to find sources of academic research funding
Looking for suitable funding bodies can be almost as challenging as preparing a grant application. Here are some ideas for where to start.
- Global resources
- UK government funding
- UK learned and professional societies
- UK charities and trusts
- Your institution
Your institution will have resources to help you find funding opportunities. The Research Office, or equivalent, your line manager and senior colleagues will all be able to help you.
- ResearchProfessional outlines academic research funding opportunities. Many institutions subscribe to this service. It is particularly good for small, specialist or international sources of funding. It allows you to set up tailored email alerts.
- Community of Science lists global funding opportunities.
- The Wellcome Trust supports research and research capacity strengthening in low- and middle-income countries as well as the UK. It also funds a range of collaborative projects, including major international partnerships.
- has useful links to national contact points for funding sources in EU Member States. EURAXESS UK offers a searchable database of international funding schemes, including travel to conferences, organising meetings, short research visits, fellowships etc. Search for individual opportunities using the fellowships search tool
- European Research Council The European Research Council is to encourage high quality research in Europe through competitive funding
- EMBO offers awards and financial support for scientists at all stages of their careers that help to create an environment where researchers can achieve their best work
- Marie Curie Fellowships are European research grants available to researchers regardless of their nationality or field of research
- The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation with 18 research centres across Germany
- CNRS: The French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) is the largest fundamental research organization in Europe.
In the UK public money is allocated to academic research by the UK’s seven Research Councils. These are many academics’ first port of call. Research Councils UK is the umbrella body which oversees the Research Councils.
Other government departments and agencies may offer research funding for projects connected to the remit of the department. Examples include the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for International Development.
The Royal Society, for example, offers grants and fellowships. Professional societies often offer travel grants and funding for public engagement activities. Check the website of appropriate professional societies for funding opportunities.
Research all charities in your area of interest to find potential sources of funding.
Large medical and other charities provide many different funding schemes.
- The Association for Medical Research Charities (AMRC) lists member charities with links to their websites
- Cancer Research UK
- The Wellcome Trust funds research in biomedical sciences and the humanities
- The Leverhulme Trust funds individuals doing research across all disciplines, focussing on areas which are not otherwise well-funded
- The Joseph Rowntree Foundation issues periodic calls for research proposals in its areas of interest: root causes of social problems and ways of overcoming them.
Grants.gov is a database for U.S. federal government grants, some of which allow non-US- based applicants. Always check eligibility criteria.
The independent federal agencies for funding are:
- National Institute for Health
- National Science Foundation
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- National Endowment for the Arts.
Your institution may have the following funding:
- Travel grants
- 'Pump-priming' awards for new projects
- Knowledge transfer and public engagement grants
- 'Bridging' funds: short-term grants if there is a gap between other funding sources. Awards are typically for 3-6 months.
Knowledge transfer from universities to industry is now a priority for governments and funding bodies.
Specialised magazines may carry news of one-off opportunities for funding.
Networking and networking sites such as Linkedin are a way of finding out about opportunities too.