The first questions I get from most students is, “How do I find grants”?
This is something that is pretty specific to your field, but there are a variety of ideas that should work for most people.
Before we hit the Internet highway and the traditional grants search suggestions, I’m going to discuss a few other resources you can look into first.
First, thing you should do is talk to your senior lab mates and students in your department. See what grants they have applied for in the past. If they have been successful ask for a copy of the grant and any comments they might have gotten. Both are useful to help craft your grant. Some departments ask students to submit a copy of successful grants that they keep on file for other students to look at. If you department doesn’t do this, ASK THEM TO DO IT!!
Second, go the library and talk to a librarian. Ok, this sounds antiquated, I mean when was the last time you actually went to the library? If you are following my other advice, you have been recently to copy out some old articles (that is if your university doesn’t have an online request system that get a work study student to go pull the periodical and scan it as a pdf to you <– BTW, This is AWESOME if it is available to you). Most libraries have subject specific librarians. They can often help you with information related to grants in your field, and can be an amazing resource.
Third, think outside the box. The Internet has opened a lot of opportunities to help funders FIND YOU! (shocking I know). One I suggest is called Rockethub – this is open to any scientist, artist, or entrepreneur. The fun thing about this is you get out of having to write a normal grant proposal. Instead, you get to use your (or a friend’s) AV skills. Make a video that sells your research and then write a little bit about it to back up the video. This is GOOD practice on how to make your research sound exciting and interesting, because lets admit it now; not ALL of us do researching that most of the general populous will find important and exciting (let alone interesting). The nice thing about something like Rockethub, is you can set it up quickly and then go work on finding other funding while money comes in.
I have found some other non-traditional funding sources, but they are more area specific. Let us know if you have found some good non-traditional sources.
Next time I’ll talk about more traditional routes for finding funding, and keep building on the non-traditional.