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.

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.

Global resources

  • 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.


  • 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

UK: Government funding

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.

UK Learned and professional societies

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.

UK Charities and trusts

Research all charities in your area of interest to find potential sources of funding.
Large medical and other charities provide many different funding schemes.

For example:


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:

Your institution

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.