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Research Topics & Ideas: Finance

120+ Finance Research Topic Ideas To Fast-Track Your Project

If you’re just starting out exploring potential research topics for your finance-related dissertation, thesis or research project, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll help kickstart your research topic ideation process by providing a hearty list of finance-centric research topics and ideas.

PS – This is just the start…

We know it’s exciting to run through a list of research topics, but please keep in mind that this list is just a starting point . To develop a suitable education-related research topic, you’ll need to identify a clear and convincing research gap , and a viable plan of action to fill that gap.

If this sounds foreign to you, check out our free research topic webinar that explores how to find and refine a high-quality research topic, from scratch. Alternatively, if you’d like hands-on help, consider our 1-on-1 coaching service .

Overview: Finance Research Topics

  • Corporate finance topics
  • Investment banking topics
  • Private equity & VC
  • Asset management
  • Hedge funds
  • Financial planning & advisory
  • Quantitative finance
  • Treasury management
  • Financial technology (FinTech)
  • Commercial banking
  • International finance

Research topic idea mega list

Corporate Finance

These research topic ideas explore a breadth of issues ranging from the examination of capital structure to the exploration of financial strategies in mergers and acquisitions.

  • Evaluating the impact of capital structure on firm performance across different industries
  • Assessing the effectiveness of financial management practices in emerging markets
  • A comparative analysis of the cost of capital and financial structure in multinational corporations across different regulatory environments
  • Examining how integrating sustainability and CSR initiatives affect a corporation’s financial performance and brand reputation
  • Analysing how rigorous financial analysis informs strategic decisions and contributes to corporate growth
  • Examining the relationship between corporate governance structures and financial performance
  • A comparative analysis of financing strategies among mergers and acquisitions
  • Evaluating the importance of financial transparency and its impact on investor relations and trust
  • Investigating the role of financial flexibility in strategic investment decisions during economic downturns
  • Investigating how different dividend policies affect shareholder value and the firm’s financial performance

Investment Banking

The list below presents a series of research topics exploring the multifaceted dimensions of investment banking, with a particular focus on its evolution following the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Analysing the evolution and impact of regulatory frameworks in investment banking post-2008 financial crisis
  • Investigating the challenges and opportunities associated with cross-border M&As facilitated by investment banks.
  • Evaluating the role of investment banks in facilitating mergers and acquisitions in emerging markets
  • Analysing the transformation brought about by digital technologies in the delivery of investment banking services and its effects on efficiency and client satisfaction.
  • Evaluating the role of investment banks in promoting sustainable finance and the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria in investment decisions.
  • Assessing the impact of technology on the efficiency and effectiveness of investment banking services
  • Examining the effectiveness of investment banks in pricing and marketing IPOs, and the subsequent performance of these IPOs in the stock market.
  • A comparative analysis of different risk management strategies employed by investment banks
  • Examining the relationship between investment banking fees and corporate performance
  • A comparative analysis of competitive strategies employed by leading investment banks and their impact on market share and profitability

Private Equity & Venture Capital (VC)

These research topic ideas are centred on venture capital and private equity investments, with a focus on their impact on technological startups, emerging technologies, and broader economic ecosystems.

  • Investigating the determinants of successful venture capital investments in tech startups
  • Analysing the trends and outcomes of venture capital funding in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, or clean energy
  • Assessing the performance and return on investment of different exit strategies employed by venture capital firms
  • Assessing the impact of private equity investments on the financial performance of SMEs
  • Analysing the role of venture capital in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Evaluating the exit strategies of private equity firms: A comparative analysis
  • Exploring the ethical considerations in private equity and venture capital financing
  • Investigating how private equity ownership influences operational efficiency and overall business performance
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of corporate governance structures in companies backed by private equity investments
  • Examining how the regulatory environment in different regions affects the operations, investments and performance of private equity and venture capital firms

Research Topic Kickstarter - Need Help Finding A Research Topic?

Asset Management

This list includes a range of research topic ideas focused on asset management, probing into the effectiveness of various strategies, the integration of technology, and the alignment with ethical principles among other key dimensions.

  • Analysing the effectiveness of different asset allocation strategies in diverse economic environments
  • Analysing the methodologies and effectiveness of performance attribution in asset management firms
  • Assessing the impact of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria on fund performance
  • Examining the role of robo-advisors in modern asset management
  • Evaluating how advancements in technology are reshaping portfolio management strategies within asset management firms
  • Evaluating the performance persistence of mutual funds and hedge funds
  • Investigating the long-term performance of portfolios managed with ethical or socially responsible investing principles
  • Investigating the behavioural biases in individual and institutional investment decisions
  • Examining the asset allocation strategies employed by pension funds and their impact on long-term fund performance
  • Assessing the operational efficiency of asset management firms and its correlation with fund performance

Hedge Funds

Here we explore research topics related to hedge fund operations and strategies, including their implications on corporate governance, financial market stability, and regulatory compliance among other critical facets.

  • Assessing the impact of hedge fund activism on corporate governance and financial performance
  • Analysing the effectiveness and implications of market-neutral strategies employed by hedge funds
  • Investigating how different fee structures impact the performance and investor attraction to hedge funds
  • Evaluating the contribution of hedge funds to financial market liquidity and the implications for market stability
  • Analysing the risk-return profile of hedge fund strategies during financial crises
  • Evaluating the influence of regulatory changes on hedge fund operations and performance
  • Examining the level of transparency and disclosure practices in the hedge fund industry and its impact on investor trust and regulatory compliance
  • Assessing the contribution of hedge funds to systemic risk in financial markets, and the effectiveness of regulatory measures in mitigating such risks
  • Examining the role of hedge funds in financial market stability
  • Investigating the determinants of hedge fund success: A comparative analysis

Financial Planning and Advisory

This list explores various research topic ideas related to financial planning, focusing on the effects of financial literacy, the adoption of digital tools, taxation policies, and the role of financial advisors.

  • Evaluating the impact of financial literacy on individual financial planning effectiveness
  • Analysing how different taxation policies influence financial planning strategies among individuals and businesses
  • Evaluating the effectiveness and user adoption of digital tools in modern financial planning practices
  • Investigating the adequacy of long-term financial planning strategies in ensuring retirement security
  • Assessing the role of financial education in shaping financial planning behaviour among different demographic groups
  • Examining the impact of psychological biases on financial planning and decision-making, and strategies to mitigate these biases
  • Assessing the behavioural factors influencing financial planning decisions
  • Examining the role of financial advisors in managing retirement savings
  • A comparative analysis of traditional versus robo-advisory in financial planning
  • Investigating the ethics of financial advisory practices

Free Webinar: How To Find A Dissertation Research Topic

The following list delves into research topics within the insurance sector, touching on the technological transformations, regulatory shifts, and evolving consumer behaviours among other pivotal aspects.

  • Analysing the impact of technology adoption on insurance pricing and risk management
  • Analysing the influence of Insurtech innovations on the competitive dynamics and consumer choices in insurance markets
  • Investigating the factors affecting consumer behaviour in insurance product selection and the role of digital channels in influencing decisions
  • Assessing the effect of regulatory changes on insurance product offerings
  • Examining the determinants of insurance penetration in emerging markets
  • Evaluating the operational efficiency of claims management processes in insurance companies and its impact on customer satisfaction
  • Examining the evolution and effectiveness of risk assessment models used in insurance underwriting and their impact on pricing and coverage
  • Evaluating the role of insurance in financial stability and economic development
  • Investigating the impact of climate change on insurance models and products
  • Exploring the challenges and opportunities in underwriting cyber insurance in the face of evolving cyber threats and regulations

Quantitative Finance

These topic ideas span the development of asset pricing models, evaluation of machine learning algorithms, and the exploration of ethical implications among other pivotal areas.

  • Developing and testing new quantitative models for asset pricing
  • Analysing the effectiveness and limitations of machine learning algorithms in predicting financial market movements
  • Assessing the effectiveness of various risk management techniques in quantitative finance
  • Evaluating the advancements in portfolio optimisation techniques and their impact on risk-adjusted returns
  • Evaluating the impact of high-frequency trading on market efficiency and stability
  • Investigating the influence of algorithmic trading strategies on market efficiency and liquidity
  • Examining the risk parity approach in asset allocation and its effectiveness in different market conditions
  • Examining the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence in quantitative financial analysis
  • Investigating the ethical implications of quantitative financial innovations
  • Assessing the profitability and market impact of statistical arbitrage strategies considering different market microstructures

Treasury Management

The following topic ideas explore treasury management, focusing on modernisation through technological advancements, the impact on firm liquidity, and the intertwined relationship with corporate governance among other crucial areas.

  • Analysing the impact of treasury management practices on firm liquidity and profitability
  • Analysing the role of automation in enhancing operational efficiency and strategic decision-making in treasury management
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of various cash management strategies in multinational corporations
  • Investigating the potential of blockchain technology in streamlining treasury operations and enhancing transparency
  • Examining the role of treasury management in mitigating financial risks
  • Evaluating the accuracy and effectiveness of various cash flow forecasting techniques employed in treasury management
  • Assessing the impact of technological advancements on treasury management operations
  • Examining the effectiveness of different foreign exchange risk management strategies employed by treasury managers in multinational corporations
  • Assessing the impact of regulatory compliance requirements on the operational and strategic aspects of treasury management
  • Investigating the relationship between treasury management and corporate governance

Financial Technology (FinTech)

The following research topic ideas explore the transformative potential of blockchain, the rise of open banking, and the burgeoning landscape of peer-to-peer lending among other focal areas.

  • Evaluating the impact of blockchain technology on financial services
  • Investigating the implications of open banking on consumer data privacy and financial services competition
  • Assessing the role of FinTech in financial inclusion in emerging markets
  • Analysing the role of peer-to-peer lending platforms in promoting financial inclusion and their impact on traditional banking systems
  • Examining the cybersecurity challenges faced by FinTech firms and the regulatory measures to ensure data protection and financial stability
  • Examining the regulatory challenges and opportunities in the FinTech ecosystem
  • Assessing the impact of artificial intelligence on the delivery of financial services, customer experience, and operational efficiency within FinTech firms
  • Analysing the adoption and impact of cryptocurrencies on traditional financial systems
  • Investigating the determinants of success for FinTech startups

Research topic evaluator

Commercial Banking

These topic ideas span commercial banking, encompassing digital transformation, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the evolving regulatory and competitive landscape among other key themes.

  • Assessing the impact of digital transformation on commercial banking services and competitiveness
  • Analysing the impact of digital transformation on customer experience and operational efficiency in commercial banking
  • Evaluating the role of commercial banks in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Investigating the effectiveness of credit risk management practices and their impact on bank profitability and financial stability
  • Examining the relationship between commercial banking practices and financial stability
  • Evaluating the implications of open banking frameworks on the competitive landscape and service innovation in commercial banking
  • Assessing how regulatory changes affect lending practices and risk appetite of commercial banks
  • Examining how commercial banks are adapting their strategies in response to competition from FinTech firms and changing consumer preferences
  • Analysing the impact of regulatory compliance on commercial banking operations
  • Investigating the determinants of customer satisfaction and loyalty in commercial banking

International Finance

The folowing research topic ideas are centred around international finance and global economic dynamics, delving into aspects like exchange rate fluctuations, international financial regulations, and the role of international financial institutions among other pivotal areas.

  • Analysing the determinants of exchange rate fluctuations and their impact on international trade
  • Analysing the influence of global trade agreements on international financial flows and foreign direct investments
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of international portfolio diversification strategies in mitigating risks and enhancing returns
  • Evaluating the role of international financial institutions in global financial stability
  • Investigating the role and implications of offshore financial centres on international financial stability and regulatory harmonisation
  • Examining the impact of global financial crises on emerging market economies
  • Examining the challenges and regulatory frameworks associated with cross-border banking operations
  • Assessing the effectiveness of international financial regulations
  • Investigating the challenges and opportunities of cross-border mergers and acquisitions

Choosing A Research Topic

These finance-related research topic ideas are starting points to guide your thinking. They are intentionally very broad and open-ended. By engaging with the currently literature in your field of interest, you’ll be able to narrow down your focus to a specific research gap .

When choosing a topic , you’ll need to take into account its originality, relevance, feasibility, and the resources you have at your disposal. Make sure to align your interest and expertise in the subject with your university program’s specific requirements. Always consult your academic advisor to ensure that your chosen topic not only meets the academic criteria but also provides a valuable contribution to the field. 

If you need a helping hand, feel free to check out our private coaching service here.

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  • v.12(1); Jan-Feb 2021

Research Funding—Why, When, and How?

Shekhar neema.

Department of Dermatology, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Laxmisha Chandrashekar

1 Department of Dermatology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Dhanvantari Nagar, Puducherry, India

Research funding is defined as a grant obtained for conducting scientific research generally through a competitive process. To apply for grants and securing research funding is an essential part of conducting research. In this article, we will discuss why should one apply for research grants, what are the avenues for getting research grants, and how to go about it in a step-wise manner. We will also discuss how to write research grants and what to be done after funding is received.


The two most important components of any research project is idea and execution. The successful execution of the research project depends not only on the effort of the researcher but also on available infrastructure to conduct the research. The conduct of a research project entails expenses on man and material and funding is essential to meet these requirements. It is possible to conduct many research projects without any external funding if the infrastructure to conduct the research is available with the researcher or institution. It is also unethical to order tests for research purpose when it does not benefit patient directly or is not part of the standard of care. Research funding is required to meet these expenses and smooth execution of research projects. Securing funding for the research project is a topic that is not discussed during postgraduation and afterwards during academic career especially in medical science. Many good ideas do not materialize into a good research project because of lack of funding.[ 1 ] This is an art which can be learnt only by practising and we intend to throw light on major hurdles faced to secure research funding.

Why Do We Need the Funds for Research?

It is possible to publish papers without any external funding; observational research and experimental research with small sample size can be conducted without external funding and can result in meaningful papers like case reports, case series, observational study, or small experimental study. However, when studies like multi-centric studies, randomized controlled trial, experimental study or observational study with large sample size are envisaged, it may not be possible to conduct the study within the resources of department or institution and a source of external funding is required.

Basic Requirements for Research Funding

The most important requirement is having an interest in the particular subject, thorough knowledge of the subject, and finding out the gap in the knowledge. The second requirement is to know whether your research can be completed with internal resources or requires external funding. The next step is finding out the funding agencies which provide funds for your subject, preparing research grant and submitting the research grant on time.

What Are the Sources of Research Funding? – Details of Funding Agencies

Many local, national, and international funding bodies can provide grants necessary for research. However, the priorities for different funding agencies on type of research may vary and this needs to be kept in mind while planning a grant proposal. Apart from this, different funding agencies have different timelines for proposal submission and limitation on funds. Details about funding bodies have been tabulated in Table 1 . These details are only indicative and not comprehensive.

Details of funding agencies

Funding agencyTimelineKey thrust areas
InstituteVariable, depends on instituteNot defined, mostly student research
University grants commission (UGC)[ ]Any time of yearRetired or working teachers in college and university under section 2(f) and 12 (b) of the UGC act 1956. The list is available on UGC website.
Evaluation in January and July
Major research project - up to 12 lacs
Minor research project - 1 lac
Indian association of Dermatologist, Venereologist and Leprologist (IADVL)[ ]March - AprilBasic sciences, clinical, laboratory based, epidemiological or quality of life studies. Up to Rs. 500,000 per project per
Life Member of IADVL and one of the few grants in which private practitioners can also apply. Other grants available from IADVL are Post Graduate thesis grant and L’Oreal research grant.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)[ ]Oct - NovBasic science, communicable and non-communicable disease, nutrition
 Short term studentshipTo facilitate undergraduate research. Funding is 25,000 per student
 Ad-hoc extramural researchLimit is up to 30 lacs per project
 Task force research projectMulticentric projects
 Financial support for thesisWithin 12 months of registration of MDAnti-microbial resistance, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes, maternal and child health
A total assistance of Rs 50,000/- will be given
Department of science and technology[ ]
Core research grant (extramural research grant)Apr - MayLifesciences
Notification on
Early career research awardNotification on serbonline. inLifesciences. Maximum funding is 50 lacs per proposal
Upper age limit is 37 years
Department of biotechnology[ ]Notification on dbtindia. gov. inVaccine research, nutrition and public health, stem cells and regenerative medicine, infectious and chronic disease biology
Council of scientific and industrial research (CSIR)[ ]Anytime of the yearProject in collaboration with CSIR institutes are given priority
Evaluation twice a year
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) (Life sciences research board)[ ]Any time of yearProject of national/defence interest
Call for proposal specify the key thrust areas
Department of Health Research (DHR) _ Grant aid scheme[ ]Any time of the yearPublic health
Translational research project
Cost- effectiveness analysis of health technologies
National psoriasis foundation (NPF)[ ]Call for proposal available on websiteVarious research grants are available for psoriasis and includes: Psoriasis prevention initiative, milestone to a cure, Discovery, Translational, Early career research grant and Bridge grants
National Institute of Health (NIH)[ ]Call for proposal available onlineLimited research grants applicable to researcher outside USA
Leo foundation[ ]Call for proposal available on websiteImprove the understanding of the underlying medicinal, biological, chemical, or pharmacological mechanisms of dermatological diseases and their symptoms

Application for the Research Grant

Applying for a research grant is a time-consuming but rewarding task. It not only provides an opportunity for designing a good study but also allows one to understand the administrative aspect of conducting research. In a publication, the peer review is done after the paper is submitted but in a research grant, peer review is done at the time of proposal, which helps the researcher to improve his study design even if the grant proposal is not successful. Funds which are available for research is generally limited; resulting in reviewing of a research grant on its merit by peer group before the proposal is approved. It is important to be on the lookout for call for proposal and deadlines for various grants. Ideally, the draft research proposal should be ready much before the call for proposal and every step should be meticulously planned to avoid rush just before the deadline. The steps of applying for a research grant are mentioned below and every step is essential but may not be conducted in a particular order.

  • Idea: The most important aspect of research is the idea. After having the idea in mind, it is important to refine your idea by going through literature and finding out what has already been done in the subject and what are the gaps in the research. FINER framework should be used while framing research questions. FINER stands for feasibility, interesting, novel, ethical, and relevant
  • Designing the study: Well-designed study is the first step of a well-executed research project. It is difficult to correct flawed study design when the project is advanced, hence it should be planned well and discussed with co-workers. The help of an expert epidemiologist can be sought while designing the study
  • Collaboration: The facility to conduct the study within the department is often limited. Inter-departmental and inter-institutional collaboration is the key to perform good research. The quality of project improves by having a subject expert onboard and it also makes acceptance of grant easier. The availability of the facility for conduct of research in department and institution should be ascertained before planning the project
  • Scientific and ethical committee approval: Most of the research grants require the project to be approved by the institutional ethical committee (IEC) before the project is submitted. IEC meeting usually happens once in a quarter; hence pre-planning the project is essential. Some institutes also conduct scientific committee meeting before the proposal can be submitted for funding. A project/study which is unscientific is not ethical, therefore it is a must that a research proposal should pass both the committees’ scrutiny
  • Writing research grant: Writing a good research grant decides whether research funding can be secured or not. So, we will discuss this part in detail.

How to write a research grant proposal [ 13 , 14 , 15 ] The steps in writing a research grant are as follows

  • Identifying the idea and designing the study. Study design should include details about type of study, methodology, sampling, blinding, inclusion and exclusion criteria, outcome measurements, and statistical analysis
  • Identifying the prospective grants—the timing of application, specific requirements of grant and budget available in the grant
  • Discussing with collaborators (co-investigators) about the requirement of consumables and equipment
  • Preparing a budget proposal—the two most important part of any research proposal is methodology and budget proposal. It will be discussed separately
  • Preparing a specific proposal as outlined in the grant document. This should contain details about the study including brief review of literature, why do you want to conduct this study, and what are the implications of the study, budget requirement, and timeline of the study
  • A timeline or Gantt chart should always accompany any research proposal. This gives an idea about the major milestones of the project and how the project will be executed
  • The researcher should also be ready for revising the grant proposal. After going through the initial proposal, committee members may suggest some changes in methodology and budgetary outlay
  • The committee which scrutinizes grant proposal may be composed of varied specialities. Hence, proposal should be written in a language which even layman can understand. It is also a good idea to get the proposal peer reviewed before submission.

Budgeting for the Research Grant

Budgeting is as important as the methodology for grant proposal. The first step is to find out what is the monetary limit for grant proposal and what are the fund requirements for your project. If these do not match, even a good project may be rejected based on budgetary limitations. The budgetary layout should be prepared with prudence and only the amount necessary for the conduct of research should be asked. Administrative cost to conduct the research project should also be included in the proposal. The administrative cost varies depending on the type of research project.

Research fund can generally be used for the following requirement but not limited to these; it is helpful to know the subheads under which budgetary planning is done. The funds are generally allotted in a graded manner as per projected requirement and to the institution, not to the researcher.

  • Purchase of equipment which is not available in an institution (some funding bodies do not allow equipment to be procured out of research funds). The equipment once procured out of any research fund is owned by the institute/department
  • Consumables required for the conduct of research (consumables like medicines for the conduct of the investigator-initiated trials and laboratory consumables)
  • The hiring of trained personnel—research assistant, data entry operator for smooth conduct of research. The remuneration details of trained personnel can be obtained from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) website and the same can be used while planning the budget
  • Stationary—for the printing of forms and similar expense
  • Travel expense—If the researcher has to travel to present his finding or for some other reason necessary for the conduct of research, travel grant can be part of the research grant
  • Publication expense: Some research bodies provide publication expense which can help the author make his findings open access which allows wider visibility to research
  • Contingency: Miscellaneous expenditure during the conduct of research can be included in this head
  • Miscellaneous expenses may include expense toward auditing the fund account, and other essential expenses which may be included in this head.

Once the research funding is granted. The fund allotted has to be expended as planned under budgetary planning. Transparency, integrity, fairness, and competition are the cornerstones of public procurement and should be remembered while spending grant money. The hiring of trained staff on contract is also based on similar principles and details of procurement and hiring can be read at the ICMR website.[ 4 ] During the conduct of the study, many of grant guidelines mandate quarterly or half-yearly progress report of the project. This includes expense on budgetary layout and scientific progress of the project. These reports should be prepared and sent on time.

Completion of a Research Project

Once the research project is completed, the completion report has to be sent to the funding agency. Most funding agencies also require period progress report and project should ideally progress as per Gantt chart. The completion report has two parts. The first part includes a scientific report which is like writing a research paper and should include all subheads (Review of literature, material and methods, results, conclusion including implications of research). The second part is an expense report including how money was spent, was it according to budgetary layout or there was any deviation, and reasons for the deviation. Any unutilized fund has to be returned to the funding agency. Ideally, the allotted fund should be post audited by a professional (chartered accountant) and an audit report along with original bills of expenditure should be preserved for future use in case of any discrepancy. This is an essential part of any funded project that prevents the researcher from getting embroiled in any accusations of impropriety.

Sharing of scientific findings and thus help in scientific advancement is the ultimate goal of any research project. Publication of findings is the part of any research grant and many funding agencies have certain restrictions on publications and presentation of the project completed out of research funds. For example, Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) research projects on completion have to be presented in a national conference and the same is true for most funding agencies. It is imperative that during presentation and publication, researcher mentions the source of funding.

Research funding is an essential part of conducting research. To be able to secure a research grant is a matter of prestige for a researcher and it also helps in the advancement of career.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  • 26 February 2024

I help researchers build fantastic funding proposals — here’s how

  • Miles Lizak 0

Miles Lizak is researcher and writer based in Barcelona, Spain.

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Gloria Garcia Negredo pictured at the Centre for Genomic Regulation’s headquarters in Barcelona.

Glòria García-Negredo assists grant-writing researchers at a biomedical institution in Barcelona. Credit: Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)

After a master’s degree in neuroscience and a PhD in biomedicine at the University of Barcelona in Spain, Glòria García-Negredo embarked on a career in research project management. She is now a grants specialist at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), an international biomedical research institute based in Barcelona. From the sun-soaked terrace of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, which houses the CRG and six other public research centres, García-Negredo talks to Nature about her work helping CRG researchers to apply for European Union and international funding.

Where does your work at the CRG fit into the research process?

I’m a grant specialist in the pre-award area here at the CRG, with a focus on European and international grants. This means I try to make the process of submitting a proposal to the European Commission or funding agency as smooth as possible. That involves understanding the objectives of the principal investigator, as well as the requirements and policies of the funding agency.

More specifically, I help scientists to prepare grant documentation, making sure that it’s acceptable for the different key areas of the CRG — including legal, tech transfer, training and communications. I make sure that the proposed project is logistically and financially feasible, and that it suits the theme of the call for grant proposals. I started working at the CRG at the end of 2021. In the course of 2022 and 2023, I managed a total of 105 European and international proposals, worth around €63 million (US$68 million).

Part of my job is making connections within the institution as well as outside of it. At the CRG, we have experts on ethics, as well as working groups on gender, impact and sustainability. To better answer the calls for proposals from funders, part of my job is to bring all of that expertise together to develop an application.

On occasion, lab leaders have a clear objective in mind for their research, and they come to us to see if we have spotted any funding opportunities that would fit. Sometimes, it’s the contrary — they specialize in a specific area of science and they are looking for ways to apply their expertise to secure funding. They might fit very well in a consortium or collaboration instead of leading with their own research.

In that case, I might connect them with an institution in our network that is putting together a proposal, see if this lab might fit as a partner in the project and then facilitate the logistics of the collaboration. I start the conversation, then act as kind of a filter for what my institution can implement and what is feasible.

What led you to project management?

When I was working on my PhD, there was just one supervisor for around ten lab members, and a mix of PhD and master’s students. It was really crowded. That person was doing their best, but I felt I had to struggle to get time with my supervisor, and so did the rest of the students. I realized that this principal investigator (PI), on top of supervising the whole team and trying to do research, had to invest a lot of time in writing proposals for funding. There was a clear lack of support structure for PIs, who were working very hard. It was a systemic issue.

Another factor was that I didn’t feel aligned with how research was being evaluated at the time. I knew that I loved science and I wanted to be in contact with research, but instead of being part of that rat race, I wanted to try to change it, at the level that I could. My switch from wet-lab research to research management, where I could provide the support that I noticed PIs lacked and get acquainted with the policy side of research, was a way of trying to make those changes happen.

After making that decision and finishing my PhD, I worked in a few research-consultancy jobs that gave me perspective on the research ecosystem beyond the laboratory. My work has been different in each of these positions. Every time I started a new one, I felt like I was base-jumping into a different field. But all these experiences have contributed to who I am now and the expertise I have today.

What is the number one thing a PI can do to make your work easier or your collaboration more effective?

For me, communication is the key. When a researcher is proactive in communicating and active in listening, when we can trust each other, we can make great things happen. Working with someone who cares about communication and nurtures those channels of feedback between the lab and the strategy-and-funding team makes my job so much easier.

I recently had a great experience working with one PI. He was very clear on what was important for him and what he wanted to achieve, and I was able to translate that into a plan of action that worked for all the other parties involved. He trusted me to manage this process and lead the conversation with the European Commission while he led the conversation with the other research groups in the consortium. It worked very well.

What advice would you give to scientists interested in project management as a career?

Don’t undervalue yourself or your expertise. It’s easy to feel like you are unqualified to comment on a proposal that a PI brings to you, because you’re not a subject-matter expert. It can feel, to both of you, like you’re intruding on their area of expertise.

But you have to be assertive and make it clear that your job is to help them place their science in a larger funding strategy or call, to give them the best chance of getting the money they need to pursue their research question. That’s your expertise.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Strategies for Funding Your Research

  • Resource Home

Learn about strategies for identifying and analyzing funding opportunities, understanding funding agencies, and creating a funding plan.

Before You Start Searching 

Before you begin to search for funding, you will need to develop your research plan. This requires asking a few key questions to yourself:

  • What research topics will you pursue over the next 1-5 years?
  • What do you need in order to be successful?

Answering these questions can help generate keywords for your research plan, and will eventually give you insight on what types of grants you need to focus on.

Understanding your interests helps you find potential collaborators, and your research plan can also help you understand if you want to work on a team or individually. If you do want to work on a team, you will want to understand what roles are feasible for you on that team. There are many types of collaboration in the research world!

Check out the Research Development Unit at UCI if you want to learn more about resources for UCI faculty looking for funding.

🔬 Learn about: Funding Options for Biotech Startups

Research B 2 2021 Compressed

Starting a Funding Search

After you begin your search with a general research plan, you can begin to formulate your problem statement. A problem statement is a clear and precise account of the problem you are attempting to solve with your research, and how that problem can potentially be solved. 

You can start with these guiding questions:

  • What is the problem you are addressing?
  • Who will benefit from your project?
  • What barriers exist that have prevented current programs or technology from solving the problem that your project will address?
  • If considering a development or technology transfer grant, what is the current technology and why is yours better?
  • How long will it take to fully develop the project?

Answering these questions will take thought and planning. Despite the time commitment, ensuring that you know the answers to these important questions is essential for developing your research plan and ensuring that your research will be worthwhile.

It is also important to be clear and exact with your answers to these questions. For example, when defining who your target market would be, include demographic information such as age, geography, and gender if applicable. Doing this will help you avoid overstating the problem you intend to solve; there are very few projects that benefit everyone!

One of the hardest questions to answer above is how long you think it will take to develop the project. It is essential to convey to the grant reviewers that you have a handle on your research and the accompanying time commitment. 

What Types of Funding Are There?

Before you decide to apply for funding opportunities, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of different resources. Governmental funding in the medical research sector usually comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or the Department of Defense (DOD). Check out the chart below for some of the advantages and disadvantages of governmental funding.

Pros and Cons of Government Funding

Foundations are smaller organizations and are more often focused on a particular issue, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. See the chart below to learn about the pros and cons of foundational funding.

Pros and Cons of Foundational Funding

Both options are great resources for funding, but picking one that better suits your company is important. Industry partners are also a major source of funding for medical/biotechnology research.

Pivot is a great tool to help researchers find funding for their projects. Pivot provides up to date information on governmental and private funding sources, and can help you narrow down your search for funding. Learn more about it here . Oftentimes if you are associated with a university they will have an account that would allow you to gain access to Pivot for free. 

Another interesting resource to check out is the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). PCORI funds research that is different from traditional NIH or government sponsored research. Through PCORI, you may be working alongside doctors, patients, and even their families. PCORI focuses on improving patient outcomes in their personal lives, in addition to healing their bodies.

What is the NIH? What Do They Do?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a government institution that consists of 27 smaller institutions/centers (ICs). Examples of these smaller institutions include the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA). The graphic below provides a brief overview of the grant process at the NIH, which can be loosely applied to other foundations as well. 

NIH Application Process

When you apply to the NIH, you suggest a specific study section to review your application. This is done in order to have reviewers that are likely to understand your research read your application. However, not every application is matched to the study section suggested to the NIH; ultimately it is the responsibility of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) to match study sections. 

If your application is approved by the study section it will carry on to the IC, which will award the grant. If the study section does not approve the application, they will send it back with feedback. Second and third submissions (after revisions) still have a chance of gaining funding from the NIH, so don’t give up!

If you are looking to become a physician scientist, the NIH can help with that as well. The NIH grants awards to individuals who have been through medical school and residency, who now want to become researchers. These awards are called K-Awards , which are individual career development awards. These are the 4 main K-Awards:

  • K01: Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award
  • K08: Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award
  • K23: Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award
  • K99/R00: Pathway to Independence Award


Writing an Effective Application

Now that you have an idea of how to find funding opportunities and the various opportunities available, you can start to think about writing your application. Below are some of the basic first steps you need to complete when writing your application.

  • Start Early
  • Develop a Strategy

Plan Your Application

  • Understand Application Requirements
  • Review Criteria

Staying organized and creating a checklist while writing is very important. You can keep track of where you keep your letters of support, what you need to include in your application, other collaborators, etc. Below we will dive deeper into each of these steps.

🔬 Read: 9 Successful Tips for Writing Grant Proposals for Nonprofits

Starting Early

If you are writing an application for the NIH, you will want to start at least 6 months prior to the application due date. This will give you time to set up all of your accounts, like the NIH Commons account and your ORCHID ID. Starting early also gives you time to notify your colleagues to ask for a letter of reference or letters of support. 

Developing a Strategy

The first thing you need to decide is whether or not you really need/want to apply for a particular award. Is it giving you something of value that you need to further your research?

If so, you might want to schedule a phone call with an NIH program officer to discuss and confirm that your research area, training, and needs fit with the particular award. This will ensure that you do not waste your time writing an application for an award you are not a good fit for. Once you know that you are a good fit, you can work on completing these steps:

  • Identify mentors and collaborators
  • Discuss with them you plans and needs early to make sure you are aligned
  • Consider your personal strengths and areas for growth
  • Identify essential resources and support needed, and ensure you will be able to get them (or some) with this award

A great tool to use when planning out your strategy is the NIH Matchmaker Tool . This allows you to enter abstracts or other scientific text to find potential Program Officials, ICs, and review panels for your research. Here you can find your competition, or even potential future collaborators. 

While you’re writing make sure to keep these basic writing tips in mind:

  • Write clearly and concisely
  • Label all components clearly
  • Make sure figures and legends are readable
  • Avoid TMI - use figures where you can
  • Edit and proofread
  • Write for both experts and non-experts in your field

Remember, these reviewers are reading hundreds of applications, don’t let yours be thrown out for poor grammar or hard-to-follow writing.

🔬 Read: Understanding the SBIR Review Process

Major Application Requirements

Make sure that your proposal has at least these 5 things, or some variation of each:

  • Specific aims
  • Research strategy
  • Candidate qualifications, career goals, and objectives
  • Mentors, collaborators, and consultants
  • Institution's environment and commitment to the candidate

One of the most important parts is the Specific Aims page, because many reviewers will look at that section first. Ensuring that yours is clear, concise, and based in research will motivate the reviewer to keep reading on.

Beginning the journey to write your first grant application can be daunting. Knowing where you want to apply to is the first step. Researching online and making calls to program officers can help with this. Then, you can work on gathering your ideas and start to write your proposal. While writing, make sure to keep in mind what reviewers want to see in your application, specifically your Specific Aims. 

Other Helpful Articles

  • Unconventional Funding Sources for Biotech and Medtech Startups
  • Department of Defense (DoD) Funding: Understanding the Options
  • The Lean Model Canvas Approach to Developing Research Grants

This content comes from a webinar, Funding your Research with Dr. Mary Frances Ypma-Wong, PhD, Office of Research, UCI School of Medicine in partnership with the CHOC Research Institute.

📽️ Watch the full webinar here .

Dr. Ypma-Wong manages the Research Development Unit (RDU) in the School of Medicine. The RDU provides funding opportunity support, helping faculty to develop a strategic approach and find funding opportunities. The unit also provides grant proposal support, including grant editing services and resources to increase the efficiency of proposal development; they support a range of programs designed to enhance the quality and competitiveness of UCISOM research grant proposals.

Be sure to subscribe to the ULP YouTube Channel to never miss another webinar, and connect with us on LinkedIn to stay in the loop!


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Connect with the right sponsor for your research.

  • Grants for Women and Underrepresented Communities

Limited Submissions Funding Opportunities

  • Internal Funding for Faculty, Postdocs & Students
  • Early Career Faculty Research Funding

A majority of the research conducted at Cornell University is funded by sponsors that support research, training, and services through a variety of agreements. To maximize your likelihood of success in obtaining funding, choose a funding source and mechanism that best matches the topic, scope, and budget of your proposed research, as well as your career level.

Graphic showing different types of funding sources

Resources to help you find a variety of funding opportunities

uses specialized data-crawling technology to constantly update its extensive database of sponsors and funding opportunities. Cornell University has an institutional subscription. Every grant opportunity is thoroughly analyzed and then verified by its team of specialists to ensure accuracy. Cornell NetID is required. 


: If you're on Cornell's network, the system identifies you automatically. If searching from home, use your Cornell email address.

WATCH - Using GrantForward as a Research (March 20, 2024)


The Directory provides information about U.S. private and public foundations, including organization profiles, links to foundation websites, and funding opportunities. Users can subscribe to the "Philanthropy News Digest" for timely updates about new funding opportunities. The Cornell University Library provides access to the Foundation Directory.

Federal Government Resource to help you find funding

  • Grant Searching Made Easy: Mastering Keywords on

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The DOE often announces FOAs that have very short submission timelines and are frequently limited submission. If you are interested in submitting to a limited submission FOA, please .

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Foundation Funding

Private foundations are an important source of support for academic research. Below are some resources to help you find funding opportunities from foundations.

Top Foundation Funders at Cornell

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Heart Association
  • American Kennel Club  - Canine health
  • Ford Foundation
  • Gates Foundation  Grand Challenges  and  General Grant Opportunities
  • Jacobs Foundation Fellowships  - Child and youth development
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Morris Animal Foundation ( Grants  and  Veterinarians & Students ) – Veterinary Medicine
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  - Building a culture of health
  • Russell Sage Foundation  - Social Science research
  • Simons Foundation  - Basic Science and Mathematics
  • Sloan Foundation  - Research and education in STEM and economics
  • Spencer Foundation  - Improving education around the world
  • Winn Foundation  - Feline health
  • William T. Grant Foundation  - Improving the lives of young people in the U.S.

Tips for Writing Proposals for Foundation Grants

  • One of the most common reasons applications are rejected is not fitting with the funder's interests, goals, and priorities. 
  • Tailor your proposal to the specific funder's guidelines and interests.
  • How will they benefit from investing in your research program? How will it help them achieve their goals?
  • Why should they care? (The "so what?" factor.)
  • Why are you the best one to do the work?
  • How will you sustain the work after the funds are gone?
  • Even if it's not required by a funder, an Executive Summary is good to have on-hand to share with potential funders and program managers. It should be clear and concise, and grab the reader's attention immediately.

New York State Funding

Resources to help find nys funding opportunities:, new york state’s online grant application and contract management system:  nys grants gateway.

  • Primary outlet of competitive NYS agency funding opportunities.
  • Cornell is a prequalified grantee. No subscription necessary. 
  • To receive funding announcements by email, subscribe h ere .

Top Cornell NYS Funding Agencies 


  • Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Department of Health   Includes an email sign up for updates (including  NYSTEM )
  • Developmental Disabilities Planning Council  (DDPC)
  • Education Department
  • Empire State Development  (includes NYSTAR, NYSED, ESD, Economic Development)
  • New York City Department of Design and Construction  (DDC): Town and Gown
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority  (NYSERDA)
  • Office of Children and Family Services  (OCFS)
  • Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)  Procurements  and  Grants & Contracts
  • Parks and Recreation  (including Zoos, Botanic Gardens and Aquariums, ZBGA)

Limited submission funding opportunities are overseen by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and managed by the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Development (OSP).  If faculty, students or staff become aware of a limited submission opportunity, they should contact OVPRI Limited Submissions before anything is submitted to the sponsor. See more on the Limited Submissions page.

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Join the CU-RES-ADMIN mailing list to receive funding opportunities and other research related announcements.

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Funding for Research: Importance, Types of Funding, and How to Apply

Funding for Research: Importance, Types of Funding, and How to Apply

Embarking on a PhD or research journey is akin to embarking on a quest for knowledge, a quest that often hinges on a crucial ally – funding for research. However, in a highly competitive environment, funding is hard to secure as more researchers enter the field every year. According to the UNESCO Science report, global research expenditure increased by 19.2% between 2014 and 2018, with a 3x faster increase in the researcher pool than the global population during the same period. [1] In this article, we unravel the intricacies of funding for research, exploring its paramount importance, the types of research funding available, and how to navigate the funding maze in research.

Table of Contents

Importance of Funding for Research

Not only does research play a significant role in influencing decisions and policies across various sectors, it is essential in expanding our understanding of the world and finding solutions to global issues. And at the heart of groundbreaking discoveries lies funding, the catalyst that fuels innovation. But how does funding work? Funding for research isn’t merely about financial sustenance; it’s about unlocking the doors to securing resources, enabling researchers to traverse the path from ideation to innovation that makes tangible contributions to human knowledge. It enables researchers to push boundaries, facilitating access to cutting-edge technologies, specialized equipment, and expert collaborations. Unfortunately, it is common to see potentially valuable research initiatives languishing due to a lack of adequate resources and insufficient funding. This is why identifying the best types of funding and applying for research grants becomes important for researchers.

funding research topics

Understanding the Types of Research Funding

Let’s take a look at the different types of research funding that is usually available to researchers and how they can benefit from them.

Scholarships and fellowships

Most reputed academic institutions and universities have certain standard mechanisms for research funding through grants, scholarships, and fellowships. Generally, these sources of funding are meant for students and researchers who are affiliated with the institution and can be availed by faculty members too. Apart from space in the university library, they can cover a spectrum of resources, including tuition, travel, and stipends. It’s important to note that some scholarships and fellowships may have specific eligibility criteria, such as academic achievements or research focus, so applicants should carefully review these requirements. So be sure to gather as much information as possible, including what is on offer, details of stipends, and the duration of the scholarships and fellowships that you apply for.

Seed funding

Imagine you have a brilliant idea and all you need is a small amount of funding or capital to get it off the ground. This is where seed funding comes in to provide initial funding (generally small) to researchers to support the early stages of research. These research grants are usually given to cover short periods ranging from a few months to a year. The work is closely evaluated by the funding agency to get a sense of how good or innovative the research idea is. The evaluation process for seed funding often focuses on the potential impact and feasibility of the research idea. Researchers should be prepared to provide a compelling case for how their work aligns with the funding agency’s goals and contributes to the advancement of knowledge. A good example of a seed-funder is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation backed Grand Challenges in Global Health Exploration Grants.

Project funding

This is a type of funding that most academic institutions and universities are geared towards providing. Project funding is given to a team behind a research idea or project for a period ranging from 3 to 5 years. The competitive nature of project funding necessitates a clear and comprehensive research proposal that outlines the objectives, methods, and expected outcomes. To be successful in securing project funding it is essential to emphasize the significance of the research question and the expertise of the team working on stimulating new ideas or projects.

Centre funding

Here, the size of the funds is usually greater compared to project funding, which is granted after a comprehensive assessment of the work program and the team’s capabilities. The objective of center funding is to provide resources for an entire program that can comprise several different research projects. The duration of the funding ranges from 3 to 6 years or even longer depending on various factors. Researchers seeking center funding should showcase a cohesive and impactful research program that aligns with the funder’s strategic priorities.

Prizes and awards

This is usually characterized as recognition and financial support for past contributions in research or a field of study. This type of research funding is to encourage and incentivize project teams and researchers to carry out further innovative work. These types of research funding are very competitive and often require a strong track record of research achievements. They can entail either money or a cash prize or award in the form of a contract with a funding agency.

How to Apply for Research Funding

Strategic Timing: When it comes to securing funding for research, timing is everything. Plan your funding applications strategically, aligning them with critical milestones in your research. Consider the academic calendar, project timelines, and funding cycles to optimize your chances of securing funding for research.

Thorough Preparation: Before diving into the application process, conduct thorough groundwork. Familiarize yourself with the funding organization’s mission, priorities, expectations, and application, requirements. Clarify your research idea and design and then tailor your proposal to align seamlessly with their goals.

Crafting a Compelling Proposal: Your proposal for a research grant is your voice in the funding arena. Clearly articulate the significance of your research, your methodology, the possible outcomes, and the anticipated impact along with timelines. Your proposal will be scrutinized by a seasoned committee so craft it with precision, clarity, and a compelling narrative to ensure it can be easily understood even by non-academics.

Additional Tips to Secure Research Funding

Building Collaborations: Cultivate partnerships within and beyond your institute as collaboration adds weight to your funding application. A multidisciplinary approach not only strengthens your proposal but also enhances the potential impact of your research.

Staying Informed: The world of research funding is dynamic. Stay informed about emerging funding opportunities, policy changes, and shifts in research priorities. Regularly check funding databases, attend workshops, and engage with your academic community to maximize your chance of success.

Embracing Diversity in Funding Sources: Diversify your research funding portfolio as relying solely on one source of funding for research can be precarious. Explore various avenues, balancing government grants, private foundations, and industry collaborations to create a resilient funding strategy.

Being Resilient in the Face of Rejections: Rejections are an inherent part of the funding journey. View them not as setbacks but as opportunities to refine and strengthen your proposals. Seek feedback, learn from the process, and persist in your pursuit.

If you are a serious researcher wondering how to get funding for research then do check out GrantDesk a solution by Researcher.Life . It provides expert support aimed at revolutionizing the funding process and increasing your chances of securing research grants.


  • Schneegans, T. Straza and J. Lewis (eds). UNESCO (2021) UNESCO Science Report: the Race Against Time for Smarter Development.

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What is research funding, how does it influence research, and how is it recorded? Key dimensions of variation

  • Open access
  • Published: 16 September 2023
  • Volume 128 , pages 6085–6106, ( 2023 )

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  • Mike Thelwall   ORCID: 1 , 2 ,
  • Subreena Simrick   ORCID: 3 ,
  • Ian Viney   ORCID: 4 &
  • Peter Van den Besselaar   ORCID: 5 , 6  

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Evaluating the effects of some or all academic research funding is difficult because of the many different and overlapping sources, types, and scopes. It is therefore important to identify the key aspects of research funding so that funders and others assessing its value do not overlook them. This article outlines 18 dimensions through which funding varies substantially, as well as three funding records facets. For each dimension, a list of common or possible variations is suggested. The main dimensions include the type of funder of time and equipment, any funding sharing, the proportion of costs funded, the nature of the funding, any collaborative contributions, and the amount and duration of the grant. In addition, funding can influence what is researched, how and by whom. The funding can also be recorded in different places and has different levels of connection to outputs. The many variations and the lack of a clear divide between “unfunded” and funded research, because internal funding can be implicit or unrecorded, greatly complicate assessing the value of funding quantitatively at scale. The dimensions listed here should nevertheless help funding evaluators to consider as many differences as possible and list the remainder as limitations. They also serve as suggested information to collect for those compiling funding datasets.

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Academic research grants account for billions of pounds in many countries and so the funders may naturally want to assess their value for money in the sense of financing desirable outcomes at a reasonable cost (Raftery et al., 2016 ). Since many of the benefits of research are long term and difficult to identify or quantify financially, it is common to benchmark against previous results or other funders to judge progress and efficiency. This is a complex task because academic funding has many small and large variations and is influenced by, and may influence, many aspects of the work and environment of the funded academics (e.g., Reale et al., 2017 ). The goal of this article is to support future analyses of the effectiveness or influence of grant funding by providing a typology of the important dimensions to be considered in evaluations (or otherwise acknowledged as limitations). The focus is on grant funding rather than block funding.

The ideal way to assess the value of a funding scheme would be a counterfactual analyses that showed its contribution by identifying what would have happened without the funding. Unfortunately, counterfactual analyses are usually impossible because of the large number of alternative funding sources. Similarly, comparisons between successful and unsuccessful bidders are faced with major confounding factors that include groups not winning one grant winning another (Neufeld, 2016 ), and complex research projects attracting funding of different kinds from multiple sources (Langfeldt et al., 2015 ; Rigby, 2011 ). Even analyses with effective control groups, such as a study of funded vs. unfunded postdocs (Schneider & van Leeuwen, 2014 ), cannot separate the effect of the funding from the success of the grant selection process: were better projects funded or did the funding or reviewer feedback improve the projects? Although qualitative analyses of individual projects help to explain what happened to the money and what it achieved, large scale analyses are sometimes needed to inform management decision making. For example: would a funder get more value for money from larger or smaller, longer or shorter, more specific or more general grants? For such analyses, many simplifying assumptions need to be made. The same is true for checks of the peer review process of research funders. For example, a funder might compute the average citation impact of publications produced by their grants and compare it to a reference set. This reference set might be as outputs from the rejected set or outputs from a comparable funder. The selection of the reference set is crucial for any attempt to identify the added value of any funding, however defined. For example, comparing the work of grant winners with that of high-quality unsuccessful applicants (e.g., those that just failed to be funded) would be useful to detect the added value of the money rather than the success of the procedure to select winners, assuming that there is little difference in potential between winners and narrow losers (Van den Besselaar & Leydesdorff, 2009 ). Because of the need to make comparisons between groups of outputs based on the nature of their funding, it is important to know the major variations in academic research funding types.

The dimensions of funding analysed in previous evaluations can point to how the above issues have been tackled. Unfortunately, most evaluations of the effectiveness, influence, or products of research funding (however defined) have probably been private reports for or by research funders, but some are in the public domain. Two non-funder studies have analysed whether funding improves research in specific contexts: peer review scores for Scoliosis conference submissions (Roach et al., 2008 ), and the methods of randomised controlled trials in urogynecology (Kim et al., 2018 ). Another compared research funded by China with that funded by the EU (Wang et al., 2020 ). An interesting view on the effect of funding on research output suggests that a grant does not necessarily always result in increased research output compared to participation in a grant competition (Ayoubi et al., 2019 ; Jonkers et al., 2017 ). Finally, a science-wide study of funding for journal articles from the UK suggested that it associated with higher quality research in at least some and possibly all fields (the last figure in: Thelwall et al., 2023 ).

From a different perspective, at least two studies have investigated whether academic funding has commercial value. The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) has analysed whether medical spinouts fared better if they were from teams that received MRC funding rather than from unsuccessful applicants, suggesting that funding helped spin-outs to realise commercial value from their health innovations (Annex A2.7 of: MRC, 2019 ). Also in the UK, firms participating in UK research council funded projects tended to grow faster afterwards compared to comparator firms (ERC, 2017 ).

Discussing the main variations in academic research funding types to inform analyses of the value of research funding is the purpose of the current article. Few prior studies seem to have introduced any systematic attempt to characterise the key dimensions of research funding, although some have listed several different types (e.g., four in: Garrett-Jones, 2000 ; three in: Paulson et al., 2011 ; nine in: Versleijen et al., 2007 ). The focus of the current paper is on grant-funded research conducted at least partly by people employed by an academic institution rather than by people researching as part of their job in a business, government, or other non-academic organisation. The latter are presumably funded usually by their employer, although they may sometimes conduct collaborative projects with academics or win academic research funding. The focus is also on research outputs, such as journal articles, books, patents, performances, or inventions, rather than research impacts or knowledge generation. Nevertheless, many of the options apply to the more general case. The list of dimensions relevant to evaluating the value of research funding has been constructed from a literature review of academic research about funding and insights from discussions with funders and analyses of funding records. The influence of funding on individual research projects is analysed, rather than systematic effects of funding, such as at the national level (e.g., for this, see: Sandström & Van den Besselaar, 2018 ; Van den Besselaar & Sandström, 2015 ). The next sections discuss dimensions in difference in the funding awarded, the influence of the funding on the research, and the way in which the funding is recorded.

Funding sources

There are many types of funders of academic research (Hu, 2009 ). An effort to distinguish between types of funding schemes based on a detailed analysis of the Dutch government budget and the annual reports of the main research funders in the Netherlands found the following nine types of funding instruments (Versleijen et al., 2007 ), but the remainder of this section gives finer-grained breakdown of types. The current paper is primarily concerned with all these except for the basic funding category, which includes the block grants that many universities receive for general research support. Block grants were originally uncompetitive but now may also be fully competitive, as in the UK where they depend on Research Excellence Framework scores, or partly competitive as in the Netherlands, where they partly depend on performance-based parameters like PhD completions (see also: Jonkers & Zacharewicz, 2016 ).

Contract research (project—targeted—small scale)

Open competition (project—free—small scale)

Thematic competition (project—targeted—small scale)

Competition between consortia (project—targeted—large scale)

Mission oriented basic funding (basic—targeted—large scale)

Funding of infrastructure and equipment (basic—targeted—diverse)

Basic funding for universities and public research institutes (basic—free—large scale)

International funding of programs and institutes (basic, both, mainly large scale)

EU funding (which can be subdivided in the previous eight types)

Many studies of the influence of research funding have focused on individual funders (Thelwall et al, 2016 ) and funding agencies’ (frequently unpublished) internal analyses presumably often compare between their own funding schemes, compare overall against a world benchmark, or check whether a funding scheme performance has changed over time (BHF, 2022 ). Public evaluations sometimes analyse individual funding schemes, particularly for large funders (e.g., Defazio et al., 2009 ). The source of funding for a project could be the employing academic institution, academic research funders, or other organisations that sometimes fund research. There are slightly different sets of possibilities for equipment and time funding.

Who funded the research project (type of funder)?

A researcher may be funded by their employer, a specialist research funding organisation (e.g., government-sponsored or non-profit) or an organisation that needs the research. Commercial funding seems likely to have different requirements and goals from academic funding (Kang & Motohashi, 2020 ), such as a closer focus on product or service development, different accounting rules, and confidentiality agreements. The source of funding is an important factor in funding analysis because funders have different selection criteria and methods to allocate and monitor funding. This is a non-exhaustive list.

Self-funded or completely unfunded (individual). Although the focus of this paper is on grant funding, this (and the item below) may be useful to record because it may partly underpin projects with other sources and may form parts of comparator sets (e.g., for the research of unfunded highly qualified applicants) in other contexts.

University employer. This includes funding reallocated from national competitive (e.g., performance-based research funding: Hicks, 2012 ) or non-competitive block research grants, from teaching income, investments and other sources that are allocated for research in general rather than equipment, time, or specific projects.

Other university (e.g., as a visiting researcher on a collaborative project).

National academic research funder (e.g., the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council: ESRC).

International academic research funder (e.g., European Union grants).

Government (contract, generally based on a tender and not from a pot of academic research funding)

Commercial (contract or research funding), sometimes called industry funding.

NGO (contract or research funding, e.g., Cancer Research charity). Philanthropic organisations not responsible to donors may have different motivations to charities, so it may be useful to separate the two sometimes.

Who funded the time needed for the research?

Research typically needs both people and equipment, and these two are sometimes supported separately. The funding for a researcher, if any, might be generic and implicit (it is part of their job to do research) or explicit in terms of a specified project that needs to be completed. Clinicians can have protected research time too: days that are reserved for research activities as part of their employment, including during advanced training (e.g., Elkbuli et al., 2020 ; Voss et al., 2021 ). For academics, research time is sometimes “borrowed” from teaching time (Bernardin, 1996 ; Olive, 2017 ). Time for a project may well be funded differently between members, such as the lead researcher being institutionally supported but using a grant to hire a team of academic and support staff. Inter-institutional research may also have a source for each team. The following list covers a range of different common arrangements.

Independent researcher, own time (e.g., not employed by but emeritus or affiliated with a university).

University researcher, own time (e.g., holidays, evenings, weekends).

University, percentage of the working time of academic staff devoted for research. In some countries this is large related to the amount of block finding versus project funding (Sandström & Van den Besselaar, 2018 ).

University, time borrowed from other activities (e.g., teaching, clinical duties, law practice).

Funder, generic research time funding (e.g., Gates chair of neuropsychology, long term career development funding for a general research programme).

University/Funder, specific time allocated for research programme (e.g., five years to develop cybersecurity research expertise).

University/Funder, employed for specific project (e.g., PhD student, postdoc supervised by member of staff).

University/Funder, specific time allocated for specific study (e.g., sabbatical to write a book).

Who funded the equipment or other non-human resources used in the research?

The resources needed for a research project might be funded as part of the project by the main funder, it may be already available to the researcher (e.g., National Health Service equipment that an NHS researcher could expect to access), or it may be separately funded and made available during the project (e.g., Richards, 2019 ). Here, “equipment” includes data or samples that are access-controlled as well as other resources unrelated to pay, such as travel. These types can be broken down as follows.

Researcher’s own equipment (e.g., a musician’s violin for performance-based research or composition; an archaeologist’s Land Rover to transport equipment to a dig).

University equipment, borrowed/repurposed (e.g., PC for teaching, unused library laptop).

University equipment, dual purpose (e.g., PC for teaching and research, violin for music teaching and research).

University/funder equipment for generic research (e.g., research group’s shared microbiology lab).

University/funder equipment research programme (e.g., GPU cluster to investigate deep learning).

University/funder equipment for specific project (e.g., PCs for researchers recruited for project; travel time).

University/funder equipment for single study (e.g., travel for interviews).

Of course, a funder may only support the loan or purchase of equipment on the understanding that the team will find other funding for research projects using it (e.g., “Funding was provided by the Water Research Commission [WRC]. The Covidence software was purchased by the Water Research fund”: Deglon et al., 2023 ). Getting large equipment working for subsequent research (e.g., a space telescope, a particle accelerator, a digitisation project) might also be the primary goal of a project.

How many funders contributed?

Although many projects are funded by a single source, some have multiple funders sharing the costs by agreement or by chance (Davies, 2016 ), and the following seem to be the logical possibilities for cost sharing.

Partially funded from one source, partly unfunded.

Partially funded from multiple sources, partly unfunded.

Fully funded from multiple sources.

Fully funded from a single source.

As an example of unplanned cost sharing, a researcher might have their post funded by one source and then subsequently bid for funding for equipment and support workers to run a large project. This project would then be part funded by the two sources, but not in a coordinated way. It seems likely that a project with a single adequate source of funding might be more efficient than a project with multiple sources that need to be coordinated. Conversely, a project with multiple funders may have passed through many different quality control steps or shown relevance to a range of different audiences. Those funded by multiple sources may also be less dependent on individual funders and therefore more able to autonomously follow their own research agenda, potentially leading to more innovative research.

How competitive was the funding allocation process?

Whilst government and charitable funding is often awarded on a competitive basis, the degree of competition (e.g., success rate) clearly varies between countries and funding calls and changes over time. In contrast, commercial funding may be gained without transparent competition (Kang & Motohashi, 2020 ), perhaps as part of ongoing work in an established collaboration or even due to a chance encounter. In between these, block research grants and prizes may be awarded for past achievements, so they are competitive, but the recipients are relatively free to spend on any type of research and do not need to write proposals (Franssen et al., 2018 ). Similarly, research centre grants may be won competitively but give the freedom to conduct a wide variety of studies over a long period. This gives the following three basic dimensions.

The success rate from the funding call (i.e., the percentage of initial applicants that were funded) OR

The success rate based on funding awarded for past performance (e.g., prize or competitive block grant, although this may be difficult to estimate) OR

The contract or other funding was allocated non-competitively (e.g., non-competitive block funding).

How was the funding decision made?

Who decides on which researchers receive funding and through which processes is also relevant (Van den Besselaar & Horlings, 2011 ). This is perhaps one of the most important considerations for funders.

The procedure for grant awarding: who decided and how?

There is a lot of research into the relative merits of different selection criteria for grants, such as a recent project to assess whether randomisation could be helpful (Fang & Casadevall, 2016 ; Peer review, triage, and deliberative committees are common, but not universal, components (Meadmore et al., 2020 ) and sources of variation include whether non-academic stakeholders are included within peer review teams (Luo et al., 2021 ), whether one or two stage submissions are required (Gross & Bergstrom, 2019 ) and whether sandpits are used (Meadmore et al., 2020 ). Although each procedure may be unique in personnel and fine details, broad information about it would be particularly helpful in comparisons between funders or schemes.

What were the characteristics of the research team?

The characteristics of successful proposals or applicants are relevant to analyses of competitive calls (Grimpe, 2012 ), although there are too many to list individually. Some deserve some attention here.

What are the characteristics of the research team behind the project or output (e.g., gender, age, career status, institution)?

What is the track record of the research team (e.g., citations, publications, awards, previous grants, service work).

Gender bias is an important consideration and whether it plays a role is highly disputed in the literature. Recent findings suggest that there is gender bias in reviews, but not success rates (Bol et al., 2022 ; Van den Besselaar & Mom, 2021 ). Some funding schemes have team requirements (e.g., established vs. early career researcher grants) and many evaluate applicants’ track records. Applicants’ previous achievements may be critical to success for some calls, such as those for established researchers or funding for leadership, play a minor role in others, or be completely ignored (e.g., for double blind grant reviewing). In any case, research team characteristics may be important for evaluating the influence of the funding or the fairness of the selection procedure.

What were the funder’s goals?

Funding streams or sources often have goals that influence what type of research can be funded. Moreover, researchers can be expected to modify their aspirations to align with the funding stream. The funder may have different types of goal, from supporting aspects of the research process to supporting relevant projects or completing a specific task (e.g., Woodward & Clifton, 1994 ), to generating societal benefits (Fernández-del-Castillo et al., 2015 ).

A common distinction is between basic and applied research, and the category “strategic research” has also been used to capture basic research aiming at long term societal benefits (Sandström, 2009 ). The Frascati Manual uses Basic Research, Applied Research and Experimental Development instead (OECD, 2015 ), but this is more relevant for analyses that incorporate industrial research and development.

Research funding does not necessarily have the goal to fund research because some streams support network formation in the expectation that the network will access other resources to support studies (Aagaard et al., 2021 ). European Union COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Actions are an example ( Others may have indirect goals, such as capacity building or creating a strong national research base that helps industry or attracts to international business research investment (Cooksey, 2006 ), or promoting a topic (e.g., educational research: El-Sawi et al., 2009 ). As a corollary to the last point, some topics may be of little interest to most funders, for example because they would mainly benefit marginalised communities (Woodson & Williams, 2020 ).

Since the early 2000s, many countries have also issued so-called career grants which have become prestigious. At the European level career grants started in 2009: the European Research Council (ERC) grants. These grants have a career effect (Bloch et al., 2014 ; Danell & Hjerm, 2013 ; Schroder et al., 2021 ; Van den Besselaar & Sandström, 2015 ) but this dimension, and the longer-term effects of funding other than on specific outputs, is not considered here. A funding scheme may also have multiple of the following goals.

Basic research (e.g., the Malaysia Toray Science Foundation supports basic research by young scientists to boost national capacity: ).

Strategic research (e.g., the UK Natural Environment Research Council’s strategic research funding targets areas of important environmental concern, targeting long term solutions: ).

Applied research (e.g., the Dutch NWO [Dutch Research Council] applied research fund to develop innovations supporting food security: ).

Technology transfer (i.e., applying research knowledge or skills to a non-research problem) or translational research.

Researcher development and training (including career grants).

Capacity building (e.g., to support research in resource-poor settings).

Collaboration formation (e.g., industry-academia, international, inter-university).

Research within a particular field.

Research with a particular application area (e.g., any research helping Alzheimer’s patients, including a ring-fenced proportion of funding within a broader call).

Tangible academic outputs (e.g., articles, books).

Tangible non-academic outputs (e.g., policy changes, medicine accreditation, patents, inventions).

Extent of the funding

The extent of funding of a project can vary substantially from a small percentage, such as for a single site visit, to 100%. A project might even make a surplus if it is allowed to keep any money left over, its equipment survives the project, or it generates successful intellectual property. The financial value of funding is clearly an important consideration because a cheaper project delivering similar outcomes to a more expensive one would have performed better. Nevertheless, grant size is often ignored in academic studies of the value of funding (e.g., Thelwall et al., 2023 ) because it is difficult to identify the amount and to divide it amongst grant outputs. This section covers four dimensions of the extent of a grant.

What proportion of the research was funded?

A research project might be fully funded, funded for the extras needed above what is already available, or deliberately partly funded (Comins, 2015 ). This last approach is sometimes called “cost sharing”. A grant applied on the Full Economic Cost (FEC) model would pay for the time and resources used by the researchers as well as the administrative support and accommodation provided by their institution. The following seem to be the main possibilities.

Partly funded.

Fully funded but on a partial FEC or sub-FEC model cost sharing model.

FEC plus surplus.

The Frascatti Manual about collecting research and development statistics distinguishes between funding internally within a unit of analysis or externally (OECD, 2015 ) but here the distinction is between explicit and implicit funding, with the latter being classed as “Unfunded”.

How was the funding delivered?

Whilst a research grant would normally be financial, a project might be supported in kind by the loan or gift of equipment or time. For instance, agricultural research might be supported with access to relevant land or livestock (Tricarico et al., 2022 ). Here are three common approaches for delivering funding.

In kind—lending time or loaning/giving equipment or other resources.

Fixed amount of money.

A maximum amount of money, with actual spending justified by receipts.

How much funding did the project receive?

Project funding can be tiny, such as a few pounds for a trip or travel expenses, or enormous, such as for a particle accelerator. Grants of a few thousand pounds can also be common in some fields and for some funders (e.g., Gallo et al., 2014 ; Lyndon, 2018 ). In competitive processes, the funder normally indicates the grant size range that it is prepared to fund. The amount of funding for research has increased over time (Bloch & Sørensen, 2015 ).

The money awarded and/or claimed by the project.

How long was the funding for?

Funded projects can be short term, such as for a one-day event, or very long term, such as a 50-year nuclear fusion reactor programme. There seems to be a trend for longer term and larger amounts of funding, such as for centres of excellence that can manage multiple different lines of research (Hellström, 2018 ; OECD, 2014 ).

The intended or actual (e.g., due to costed or non-costed extensions) duration of the project.

Influence of the funding on the research project

A variety of aspects of the funding system were discussed in the previous sections, and this section and the next switch to the effects of funding on what research is conducted and how. Whist some grant schemes explicitly try to direct research (e.g., funding calls to build national artificial intelligence research capacity), even open calls may have indirect influences on team formation, goals, and broader research directions. This section discusses three different ways in which funding can influence a research project.

Influence on what the applicant did

Whilst funding presumably has a decisive influence on whether a study occurs most of the time because of the expense of the equipment or effort (e.g., to secure ethical approval for medical studies: Jonker et al., 2011 ), there may be exceptions. For example, an analysis of unfunded medical research found that it was often hospital-based (Álvarez-Bornstein et al., 2019 ), suggesting that it was supported by employers. Presumably the researcher applying for funding would usually have done something else research-related if they did not win the award, such as conducting different studies or applying for other funding. The following seem to be the main dimensions of variation here.

No influence (the study would have gone ahead without the funding).

Improved existing study (e.g., more time to finish, more/better equipment, more collaborators, constructive ideas from the peer review process). An extreme example of the latter is the Medical Research Council’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS), which has expert input and decision making throughout a project.

Made the study possible, replacing other research-related activities (e.g., a different type of investigation, supporting another project, PhD mentoring).

Made the study possible, replacing non-research activities (e.g., teaching, clinical practice).

Researchers may conduct unfunded studies if financing is not essential and they would like to choose their own goals (Edwards, 2022 ; Kayrooz et al., 2007 ), or if their research time can be subsidised by teaching revenue (Olive, 2017 ). Some types of research are also inherently cheaper than others, such as secondary data analysis (Vaduganathan et al., 2018 ) and reviews in medical fields, so may not need funding. At the other extreme, large funding sources may redirect the long-term goals of an entire research group (Jeon, 2019 ). In between these two, funding may improve the quality of a study that would have gone ahead anyway, such as by improving its methods, including the sample size or the range of analyses used (Froud et al., 2015 ). Alternatively, it may have changed a study without necessarily improving it, such as by incorporating funder-relevant goals, methods, or target groups. Scholars with topics that do not match the major funding sources may struggle to be able to do research (Laudel, 2005 ).

Influence on research goals or methods

In addition to supporting the research, the nature of the influence of the source of funding can be minor or major, from the perspective of the funded researcher. It seems likely most funding requires some changes to what a self-funded researcher might otherwise do, if only to give reassurance that the proposed research will deliver tangible outputs (Serrano Velarde, 2018 ), or to fit specific funder requirements (Luukkonen & Thomas, 2016 ). Funding influence can perhaps be split into the following broad types, although they are necessarily imprecise, with considerable overlaps.

No influence (the applicant did not modify their research goals for the funder, or ‘relabelled’ their research goals to match the funding scheme).

Partial influence (the applicant modified their research goals for the funder)

Strong influence (the applicant developed new research goals for the funder, such as a recent call for non-AI researchers to retrain to adopt AI).

Full determination (the funder specified the project, such as a pharmaceutical industry contract to test a new vaccine).

Focusing on more substantial changes only, the funding has no influence if the academic did not need to consider funder-related factors when proposing their study, or could select a funder that fully aligned with their goals. On the other hand, the influence is substantial if the researcher changed their goals to fit the funder requirements (Currie-Alder, 2015 ; Tellmann, 2022 ). In between, a project goals may be tailored to a funder or funding requirements (Woodward & Clifton, 1994 ). An indirect way in which health-related funders often influence research is by requiring Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) at all levels of a project, including strategy development (e.g., Brett et al., 2014 ). Funding initiatives may aim to change researchers’ goals, such as to encourage the growth of a promising new field (Gläser et al., 2016 ). The wider funding environment may also effectively block some research types or topics if it is not in scope for most grants (Laudel & Gläser, 2014 ).

It seems likely that funding sources have the greatest influence on researchers’ goals in resource intensive areas, presumably including most science and health research, and especially those that routinely issue topic-focused calls (e.g., Laudel, 2006 ; Woelert et al., 2021 ). The perceived likelihood of receiving future funding may also influence research methods, such as by encouraging researchers to hoard resources (e.g., perform fewer laboratory experiments for a funded paper) when future access may be at risk (Laudel, 2023 ).

Influence on research team composition

The funder call may list eligibility requirements of various types. For example, the UK national funders specify that applicants must be predominantly UK academics. One common type of specification seems to be team size and composition since many funders (e.g., EU) specify or encourage collaborative projects. Funding may also encourage commercial participants or end user partnerships, which may affect team composition (e.g., Gaughan & Bozeman, 2002 ). Four different approaches may be delineated as follows.

No influence (the funder allows any team size).

Partial influence (the applicant chooses a team size to enhance their perceived success rate).

Funder parameters (the funder specifies parameters, such as a requirement for collaboration or partners from at least three EU countries, disciplinary composition or interdisciplinarity mandate).

Full determination (the funder specifies the team size, such as individual applicants only for career-related grants).

The influence of funders on research team composition is unlikely to be strict even if they fully determine grant applicant team sizes because the funded researchers may choose to collaborate with others using their own grants or unfunded.

Influence of the funding on the research outputs

The above categories cover how research funding helps or influences research studies. This section focuses on what may change in the outputs of researchers or projects due to the receipt of funding. This is important to consider because research outputs are the most visible and countable outcomes of research projects, but they are not always necessary (e.g., funding for training or equipment) and different types can be encouraged. Four relevant dimensions of influence are discussed below.

Influence of funding on the applicant’s productivity

Funding can normally be expected to support the production of new outputs by an academic or team (Bloch et al., 2014 ; Danell & Hjerm, 2013 ), but this may be field dependent. Studying the factors affecting productivity, DFG grants had a positive effect on the productivity for German political scientists (Habicht et al., 2021 ). However, in some cases funding may produce fewer tangible outputs because of the need to collaborate with end users or conduct activities of value to them (Hottenrott & Thorwarth, 2011 ), or if the funding is for long-term high-risk investigations. In areas where funding is inessential or where or core/block funding provides some baseline capability, academics who choose not to apply for it can devote all their research time to research rather than grant writing, which may increase their productivity (Thyer, 2011 ). Although simplistic, the situation may therefore be characterised into three situations.

Reduction in the number or size of outputs of relevant types by the applicant(s) during and/or after the project.

No change in the number or size of outputs of relevant types by the applicant(s) during and/or after the project.

Increase in the number or size of outputs of relevant types by the applicant(s) during and/or after the project.

Funding can also have the long-term indirect effect of improving productivity, though career benefits for those funded, such as making them more likely to attract collaborators and future funding (Defazio et al., 2009 ; Heyard & Hottenrott, 2021 ; Hussinger & Carvalho, 2022 ; Saygitov, 2018 ; Shimada et al., 2017 ). Writing grant applications may also provide an intensive learning process, which may help careers (Ayoubi et al., 2019 ; Jonkers et al., 2017 ).

Influence of funding on the applicant’s research output types

Funding may change what a researcher or research team produces. For example, a commercial component of grants may reduce the number of journal articles produced (Hottenrott & Lawson, 2017 ). Funder policies may have other influences on what a researcher does, such as conditions to disseminate the results in a certain way. This may include open access, providing accessible research data, or writing briefings for policy makers or the public. Whilst this may be considered good practice, some may be an additional overhead for the researcher. This may be summarised as follows, although the distinctions are qualitative.

No change in the nature of the outputs produced.

Partial change in the nature of the outputs produced.

Complete change in the nature of the outputs produced (e.g., patents instead of articles).

Influence of funding on the impact or quality of the research

Although cause-and-effect may be difficult to prove (e.g., Aagaard & Schneider, 2017 ), funding seems likely to change the citation, scholarly, societal, or other impacts of what a researcher or research team produces. For example, a reduction in citation impact may occur if the research becomes more application-focused and an increase may occur if the funding improves the quality of the research.

Most studies have focused on citation impact, finding that funded research, or research funded by a particular funder, tends to be more cited than other research (Álvarez-Bornstein et al., 2019 ; Gush et al., 2018 ; Heyard & Hottenrott, 2021 ; Rigby, 2011 ; Roshani et al., 2021 ; Thelwall et al., 2016 ; Yan et al., 2018 ), albeit with a few exceptions (Alkhawtani et al., 2020 ; Jowkar et al., 2011 ; Muscio et al., 2017 ). Moreover, unfunded work, or work that does not explicitly declare funding sources, in some fields can occasionally be highly cited (Sinha et al., 2016 ; Zhao, 2010 ). Logically, however, there are three broad types of influence on the overall impacts of the outputs produced, in addition to changes in the nature of the impacts.

Reduction in the citation/scholarly/societal/other impact of the outputs produced.

No change in the citation/scholarly/societal/other impact of the outputs produced.

Increase in the citation/scholarly/societal/other impact of the outputs produced.

The quality of the research produced is also important and could be assessed by a similar list to the one above. Research quality is normally thought to encompass three aspects: methodological rigour, innovativeness, and societal/scientific impact (Langfeldt et al., 2020 ). Considering quality overall therefore entails attempting to also assess the rigour and innovativeness of research. These seem likely to correlate positively with research impact and are difficult to assess on a large scale. Whilst rigour might be equated with passing journal peer review in some cases, innovation has no simple proxy indictor and is a particular concern for funding decisions (Franssen, et al., 2018 ; Whitley et al., 2018 ).

The number and types of outcomes supported by a grant

When evaluating funding, it is important to consider the nature and number of the outputs and other outcomes produced specifically from it. Research projects often deliver multiple products, such as journal articles, scholarly talks, public-facing talks, and informational websites. There may also be more applied outputs, such as health policy changes, spin-out companies, and new drugs (Ismail et al., 2012 ). Since studies evaluating research funding often analyse only the citation impact of the journal articles produced (because of the ease of benchmarking), it is important to at least acknowledge that other outputs are also produced by researchers, even if it is difficult to take them into account in quantitative analyses.

The number and type of outcomes or outputs associated with a grant.

Of course, the non-citation impacts of research, such as policy changes or drug development, are notoriously difficult to track down even for individual projects (Boulding et al., 2020 ; Raftery et al., 2016 ), although there have been systematic attempts to identify policy citations (Szomszor & Adie, 2022 ). Thus, most types of impacts could not be analysed on a large scale and individual qualitative analyses are the only option for detailed impact analyses (Guthrie et al., 2015 ). In parallel with this, studies that compare articles funded by different sources should really consider the number of outputs per grant, since a grant producing more outputs would tend to be more successful. This approach does not seem to be used when average citation impact is compared, which is a limitation.

A pragmatic issue for studies of grants: funding records

Finally, from a pragmatic data collection perspective, the funding for a research output can be recorded in different places, not all of which are public. A logical place to look for this information is within the output, although it may be recorded within databases maintained by the funder or employer. Related to this, it is not always clear how much of an output can be attributed to an acknowledged funding source. Whilst the location of a funding record presumably has no influence on the effectiveness of the funding, so is not relevant to the goals of this article, it is included here an important practical consideration that all studies of grant funding must cope with. Three relevant dimensions of this ostensibly simple issue are discussed below.

Where the funding is recorded inside the output

Funding can be acknowledged explicitly in journal articles (Aagaard et al., 2021 ) and other research outputs, whether to thank the funder or to record possible conflicts of interest. This information may be omitted because the authors forget or do not want to acknowledge some or all funders. Here is a list of common locations.

A Funding section.

An Acknowledgements section.

A Notes section.

A Declaration of Interests section.

The first footnote.

The last footnote.

The last paragraph of the conclusions.

Elsewhere in the output.

Not recorded in the output.

The compulsory funding declaration sections of an increasing minority of journals are the ideal place for funder information. These force corresponding authors to declare funding, although they may not be able to track down all sources for large, multiply-funded teams. This section also is probably the main place where a clear statement that a study was unfunded could be found. A Declaration of Interests section may also announce an absence of funding, although this cannot be inferred from the more usual statement that the authors have no competing interests. Funding statements in other places are unsystematic in the sense that it seems easy for an author to forget them. Nevertheless, field norms may dictate a specific location for funding information (e.g., always a first page footnote), and this seems likely to reduce the chance that this step is overlooked.

Where the funding is recorded outside the output

Large funders are likely to keep track of the outputs from their funded research, and research institutions may also keep systematic records (Clements et al., 2017 ). These may be completed by researchers or administrators and may be mandatory or optional. Funders usually also record descriptive qualitative information about funded projects that is not essential for typical large-scale analyses of funded research but is important to keep track of individual projects. It may also be used large scale descriptive analyses of grant portfolio changes over time. For example, the UKRI Gateway to Research information includes project title, abstract (lay and technical), value (amount awarded by UKRI—so usually 80% FEC), funded period (start and end), project status (whether still active), category (broad research grant type—e.g., Fellowship), grant reference, Principle Investigator (PI) (and all co-Investigators), research classifications (e.g. Health Research Classification System [HRCS] for MRC grants), research organisations involved (whether as proposed collaborators or funding recipients/partners), and, as the project progresses, any outputs reported via Researchfish.

Academic employers may also track the outputs and funding of their staff in a current research information system or within locally designed databases or spreadsheets. Dimensions for Funders (Dimensions, 2022 ), for example, compiles funding information from a wide range of sources. Other public datasets include the UKRI Gateway to Research (extensive linkage to outputs), the Europe PMC grant lookup tool (good linkage to publications) or the UKCDR covid funding tracker (some linkage to publications via Europe PMC), or the occasional UK Health Research Analysis (.net), and the European commission CORDIS dataset. There are also some initiatives to comprehensively catalogue who funds what in particular domains, such as for UK non-commercial health research (UKCRC, 2020 ). Of course, there are ad-hoc funding statements too, such as in narrative claims of research impact in university websites or as part of evaluations (Grant & Hinrichs, 2015 ), but these may be difficult to harvest systematically. The following list includes a range of common locations.

In a university/employer public/private funding record.

In the academic’s public/private CV.

In the funder’s public/private record.

In a shared public/private research funding system used by the funder (e.g., Researchfish).

In publicity for the grant award (if output mentioned specifically enough).

In publicity for the output (e.g., a theatre programme for a performance output).

Elsewhere outside the output.

Not recorded outside the output.

From the perspective of third parties obtaining information about funding for outputs, if the employer and/or funder databases are private or public but difficult to search then online publicity about the outputs or funding may give an alternative record.

What is the connection between outputs and their declared funders?

Some outputs have a clear identifiable funder or set of funders. For example, a grant may be awarded to write a book and the book would therefore clearly be the primary output of the project. Similarly, a grant to conduct a specified randomised controlled trial seems likely to produce an article reporting the results; this, after passing review, would presumably be the primary research output even though an unpublished statistical summary of the results might suffice in some cases, especially when time is a factor. More loosely, a grant may specify a programme of research and promise several unspecified or vaguely specified outputs. In this case there may be outputs related to the project but not essential to it that might be classed as being part of it. It is also possible that outputs with little connection to a project are recorded as part of it for strategic reasons, such as to satisfy a project quota or gain a higher end-of-project grade. For example, Researchfish (Reddick et al., 2022 ) allows grant holders to select which publications on their CVs associate with each grant. There are also genuine mistakes in declaring funding (e.g., Elmunim et al., 2022 ). The situation may be summarised with the following logical categories.

Direct, clear connection (e.g., the study is a named primary output of a project).

Indirect, clear connection (e.g., the study is a writeup of a named project outcome).

Indirect, likely connection (e.g., the study is an output of someone working on the project and the output is on the project topic).

Tenuous connection (e.g., the study was completed before the project started, by personnel not associated with the project, or by project personnel on an unrelated topic).

No connection at all (such as due to a recording error; presumably rare).


This paper has described dimensions along which research funding differs between projects, with a focus on grant funding. This includes dimensions that are important to consider when analysing the value of research funding quantitatively. This list is incomplete, and not all aspects will be relevant to all future analyses of funding. Most qualitative and rarer dimensions of difference associated with funding are omitted, including the exact nature of any societal impact, support for researcher development, and support for wider social, ethical or scientific issues (e.g., promoting open science).

Organisations that compile funding datasets or otherwise record funding information may also consult the lists above when considering the records that are desirable to collect. Of course, the providers of large datasets, such as the Dimensions for Funders system, may often not be able to find this information for inclusion (not provided by funders) or not be able to adequately process it (e.g., simply too many variations in funding types, and no straightforward way to present this data to users).

When comparing funding sources or evaluating the impact of funding, it is important to consider as many dimensions as practically possible to ensure that comparisons are fair as achievable, whilst acknowledging the remaining sources of variation as limitations. Even at the level of funding schemes, all have unique features but since comparisons must be made for management purposes, it is important to consider differences or to at least be aware of them when making comparisons.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Grant Proposals (or Give me the money!)

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you write and revise grant proposals for research funding in all academic disciplines (sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts). It’s targeted primarily to graduate students and faculty, although it will also be helpful to undergraduate students who are seeking funding for research (e.g. for a senior thesis).

The grant writing process

A grant proposal or application is a document or set of documents that is submitted to an organization with the explicit intent of securing funding for a research project. Grant writing varies widely across the disciplines, and research intended for epistemological purposes (philosophy or the arts) rests on very different assumptions than research intended for practical applications (medicine or social policy research). Nonetheless, this handout attempts to provide a general introduction to grant writing across the disciplines.

Before you begin writing your proposal, you need to know what kind of research you will be doing and why. You may have a topic or experiment in mind, but taking the time to define what your ultimate purpose is can be essential to convincing others to fund that project. Although some scholars in the humanities and arts may not have thought about their projects in terms of research design, hypotheses, research questions, or results, reviewers and funding agencies expect you to frame your project in these terms. You may also find that thinking about your project in these terms reveals new aspects of it to you.

Writing successful grant applications is a long process that begins with an idea. Although many people think of grant writing as a linear process (from idea to proposal to award), it is a circular process. Many people start by defining their research question or questions. What knowledge or information will be gained as a direct result of your project? Why is undertaking your research important in a broader sense? You will need to explicitly communicate this purpose to the committee reviewing your application. This is easier when you know what you plan to achieve before you begin the writing process.

Diagram 1 below provides an overview of the grant writing process and may help you plan your proposal development.

A chart labeled The Grant Writing Process that provides and overview of the steps of grant writing: identifying a need, finding grants, developing a proposal and budget, submitting the proposal, accepting or declining awards, carrying out the project, and filing a report with funding agencies.

Applicants must write grant proposals, submit them, receive notice of acceptance or rejection, and then revise their proposals. Unsuccessful grant applicants must revise and resubmit their proposals during the next funding cycle. Successful grant applications and the resulting research lead to ideas for further research and new grant proposals.

Cultivating an ongoing, positive relationship with funding agencies may lead to additional grants down the road. Thus, make sure you file progress reports and final reports in a timely and professional manner. Although some successful grant applicants may fear that funding agencies will reject future proposals because they’ve already received “enough” funding, the truth is that money follows money. Individuals or projects awarded grants in the past are more competitive and thus more likely to receive funding in the future.

Some general tips

  • Begin early.
  • Apply early and often.
  • Don’t forget to include a cover letter with your application.
  • Answer all questions. (Pre-empt all unstated questions.)
  • If rejected, revise your proposal and apply again.
  • Give them what they want. Follow the application guidelines exactly.
  • Be explicit and specific.
  • Be realistic in designing the project.
  • Make explicit the connections between your research questions and objectives, your objectives and methods, your methods and results, and your results and dissemination plan.
  • Follow the application guidelines exactly. (We have repeated this tip because it is very, very important.)

Before you start writing

Identify your needs and focus.

First, identify your needs. Answering the following questions may help you:

  • Are you undertaking preliminary or pilot research in order to develop a full-blown research agenda?
  • Are you seeking funding for dissertation research? Pre-dissertation research? Postdoctoral research? Archival research? Experimental research? Fieldwork?
  • Are you seeking a stipend so that you can write a dissertation or book? Polish a manuscript?
  • Do you want a fellowship in residence at an institution that will offer some programmatic support or other resources to enhance your project?
  • Do you want funding for a large research project that will last for several years and involve multiple staff members?

Next, think about the focus of your research/project. Answering the following questions may help you narrow it down:

  • What is the topic? Why is this topic important?
  • What are the research questions that you’re trying to answer? What relevance do your research questions have?
  • What are your hypotheses?
  • What are your research methods?
  • Why is your research/project important? What is its significance?
  • Do you plan on using quantitative methods? Qualitative methods? Both?
  • Will you be undertaking experimental research? Clinical research?

Once you have identified your needs and focus, you can begin looking for prospective grants and funding agencies.

Finding prospective grants and funding agencies

Whether your proposal receives funding will rely in large part on whether your purpose and goals closely match the priorities of granting agencies. Locating possible grantors is a time consuming task, but in the long run it will yield the greatest benefits. Even if you have the most appealing research proposal in the world, if you don’t send it to the right institutions, then you’re unlikely to receive funding.

There are many sources of information about granting agencies and grant programs. Most universities and many schools within universities have Offices of Research, whose primary purpose is to support faculty and students in grant-seeking endeavors. These offices usually have libraries or resource centers to help people find prospective grants.

At UNC, the Research at Carolina office coordinates research support.

The Funding Information Portal offers a collection of databases and proposal development guidance.

The UNC School of Medicine and School of Public Health each have their own Office of Research.

Writing your proposal

The majority of grant programs recruit academic reviewers with knowledge of the disciplines and/or program areas of the grant. Thus, when writing your grant proposals, assume that you are addressing a colleague who is knowledgeable in the general area, but who does not necessarily know the details about your research questions.

Remember that most readers are lazy and will not respond well to a poorly organized, poorly written, or confusing proposal. Be sure to give readers what they want. Follow all the guidelines for the particular grant you are applying for. This may require you to reframe your project in a different light or language. Reframing your project to fit a specific grant’s requirements is a legitimate and necessary part of the process unless it will fundamentally change your project’s goals or outcomes.

Final decisions about which proposals are funded often come down to whether the proposal convinces the reviewer that the research project is well planned and feasible and whether the investigators are well qualified to execute it. Throughout the proposal, be as explicit as possible. Predict the questions that the reviewer may have and answer them. Przeworski and Salomon (1995) note that reviewers read with three questions in mind:

  • What are we going to learn as a result of the proposed project that we do not know now? (goals, aims, and outcomes)
  • Why is it worth knowing? (significance)
  • How will we know that the conclusions are valid? (criteria for success) (2)

Be sure to answer these questions in your proposal. Keep in mind that reviewers may not read every word of your proposal. Your reviewer may only read the abstract, the sections on research design and methodology, the vitae, and the budget. Make these sections as clear and straightforward as possible.

The way you write your grant will tell the reviewers a lot about you (Reif-Lehrer 82). From reading your proposal, the reviewers will form an idea of who you are as a scholar, a researcher, and a person. They will decide whether you are creative, logical, analytical, up-to-date in the relevant literature of the field, and, most importantly, capable of executing the proposed project. Allow your discipline and its conventions to determine the general style of your writing, but allow your own voice and personality to come through. Be sure to clarify your project’s theoretical orientation.

Develop a general proposal and budget

Because most proposal writers seek funding from several different agencies or granting programs, it is a good idea to begin by developing a general grant proposal and budget. This general proposal is sometimes called a “white paper.” Your general proposal should explain your project to a general academic audience. Before you submit proposals to different grant programs, you will tailor a specific proposal to their guidelines and priorities.

Organizing your proposal

Although each funding agency will have its own (usually very specific) requirements, there are several elements of a proposal that are fairly standard, and they often come in the following order:

  • Introduction (statement of the problem, purpose of research or goals, and significance of research)

Literature review

  • Project narrative (methods, procedures, objectives, outcomes or deliverables, evaluation, and dissemination)
  • Budget and budget justification

Format the proposal so that it is easy to read. Use headings to break the proposal up into sections. If it is long, include a table of contents with page numbers.

The title page usually includes a brief yet explicit title for the research project, the names of the principal investigator(s), the institutional affiliation of the applicants (the department and university), name and address of the granting agency, project dates, amount of funding requested, and signatures of university personnel authorizing the proposal (when necessary). Most funding agencies have specific requirements for the title page; make sure to follow them.

The abstract provides readers with their first impression of your project. To remind themselves of your proposal, readers may glance at your abstract when making their final recommendations, so it may also serve as their last impression of your project. The abstract should explain the key elements of your research project in the future tense. Most abstracts state: (1) the general purpose, (2) specific goals, (3) research design, (4) methods, and (5) significance (contribution and rationale). Be as explicit as possible in your abstract. Use statements such as, “The objective of this study is to …”


The introduction should cover the key elements of your proposal, including a statement of the problem, the purpose of research, research goals or objectives, and significance of the research. The statement of problem should provide a background and rationale for the project and establish the need and relevance of the research. How is your project different from previous research on the same topic? Will you be using new methodologies or covering new theoretical territory? The research goals or objectives should identify the anticipated outcomes of the research and should match up to the needs identified in the statement of problem. List only the principle goal(s) or objective(s) of your research and save sub-objectives for the project narrative.

Many proposals require a literature review. Reviewers want to know whether you’ve done the necessary preliminary research to undertake your project. Literature reviews should be selective and critical, not exhaustive. Reviewers want to see your evaluation of pertinent works. For more information, see our handout on literature reviews .

Project narrative

The project narrative provides the meat of your proposal and may require several subsections. The project narrative should supply all the details of the project, including a detailed statement of problem, research objectives or goals, hypotheses, methods, procedures, outcomes or deliverables, and evaluation and dissemination of the research.

For the project narrative, pre-empt and/or answer all of the reviewers’ questions. Don’t leave them wondering about anything. For example, if you propose to conduct unstructured interviews with open-ended questions, be sure you’ve explained why this methodology is best suited to the specific research questions in your proposal. Or, if you’re using item response theory rather than classical test theory to verify the validity of your survey instrument, explain the advantages of this innovative methodology. Or, if you need to travel to Valdez, Alaska to access historical archives at the Valdez Museum, make it clear what documents you hope to find and why they are relevant to your historical novel on the ’98ers in the Alaskan Gold Rush.

Clearly and explicitly state the connections between your research objectives, research questions, hypotheses, methodologies, and outcomes. As the requirements for a strong project narrative vary widely by discipline, consult a discipline-specific guide to grant writing for some additional advice.

Explain staffing requirements in detail and make sure that staffing makes sense. Be very explicit about the skill sets of the personnel already in place (you will probably include their Curriculum Vitae as part of the proposal). Explain the necessary skill sets and functions of personnel you will recruit. To minimize expenses, phase out personnel who are not relevant to later phases of a project.

The budget spells out project costs and usually consists of a spreadsheet or table with the budget detailed as line items and a budget narrative (also known as a budget justification) that explains the various expenses. Even when proposal guidelines do not specifically mention a narrative, be sure to include a one or two page explanation of the budget. To see a sample budget, turn to Example #1 at the end of this handout.

Consider including an exhaustive budget for your project, even if it exceeds the normal grant size of a particular funding organization. Simply make it clear that you are seeking additional funding from other sources. This technique will make it easier for you to combine awards down the road should you have the good fortune of receiving multiple grants.

Make sure that all budget items meet the funding agency’s requirements. For example, all U.S. government agencies have strict requirements for airline travel. Be sure the cost of the airline travel in your budget meets their requirements. If a line item falls outside an agency’s requirements (e.g. some organizations will not cover equipment purchases or other capital expenses), explain in the budget justification that other grant sources will pay for the item.

Many universities require that indirect costs (overhead) be added to grants that they administer. Check with the appropriate offices to find out what the standard (or required) rates are for overhead. Pass a draft budget by the university officer in charge of grant administration for assistance with indirect costs and costs not directly associated with research (e.g. facilities use charges).

Furthermore, make sure you factor in the estimated taxes applicable for your case. Depending on the categories of expenses and your particular circumstances (whether you are a foreign national, for example), estimated tax rates may differ. You can consult respective departmental staff or university services, as well as professional tax assistants. For information on taxes on scholarships and fellowships, see .

Explain the timeframe for the research project in some detail. When will you begin and complete each step? It may be helpful to reviewers if you present a visual version of your timeline. For less complicated research, a table summarizing the timeline for the project will help reviewers understand and evaluate the planning and feasibility. See Example #2 at the end of this handout.

For multi-year research proposals with numerous procedures and a large staff, a time line diagram can help clarify the feasibility and planning of the study. See Example #3 at the end of this handout.

Revising your proposal

Strong grant proposals take a long time to develop. Start the process early and leave time to get feedback from several readers on different drafts. Seek out a variety of readers, both specialists in your research area and non-specialist colleagues. You may also want to request assistance from knowledgeable readers on specific areas of your proposal. For example, you may want to schedule a meeting with a statistician to help revise your methodology section. Don’t hesitate to seek out specialized assistance from the relevant research offices on your campus. At UNC, the Odum Institute provides a variety of services to graduate students and faculty in the social sciences.

In your revision and editing, ask your readers to give careful consideration to whether you’ve made explicit the connections between your research objectives and methodology. Here are some example questions:

  • Have you presented a compelling case?
  • Have you made your hypotheses explicit?
  • Does your project seem feasible? Is it overly ambitious? Does it have other weaknesses?
  • Have you stated the means that grantors can use to evaluate the success of your project after you’ve executed it?

If a granting agency lists particular criteria used for rating and evaluating proposals, be sure to share these with your own reviewers.

Example #1. Sample Budget

Jet Travel
RDU-Kigali (roundtrip) 1 $6,100 $6,100
Maintenance Allowance
Rwanda 12 months $1,899 $22,788 $22,788
Project Allowance
Research Assistant/Translator 12 months $400 $4800
Transportation within country
–Phase 1 4 months $300 $1,200
–Phase 2 8 months $1,500 $12,000
Email 12 months $60 $720
Audio cassette tapes 200 $2 $400
Photographic and slide film 20 $5 $100
Laptop Computer 1 $2,895
NUD*IST 4.0 Software $373
Total Project Allowance $35,238
Administrative Fee $100
Total $65,690
Sought from other sources ($15,000)
Total Grant Request $50,690

Jet travel $6,100 This estimate is based on the commercial high season rate for jet economy travel on Sabena Belgian Airlines. No U.S. carriers fly to Kigali, Rwanda. Sabena has student fare tickets available which will be significantly less expensive (approximately $2,000).

Maintenance allowance $22,788 Based on the Fulbright-Hays Maintenance Allowances published in the grant application guide.

Research assistant/translator $4,800 The research assistant/translator will be a native (and primary) speaker of Kinya-rwanda with at least a four-year university degree. They will accompany the primary investigator during life history interviews to provide assistance in comprehension. In addition, they will provide commentary, explanations, and observations to facilitate the primary investigator’s participant observation. During the first phase of the project in Kigali, the research assistant will work forty hours a week and occasional overtime as needed. During phases two and three in rural Rwanda, the assistant will stay with the investigator overnight in the field when necessary. The salary of $400 per month is based on the average pay rate for individuals with similar qualifications working for international NGO’s in Rwanda.

Transportation within country, phase one $1,200 The primary investigator and research assistant will need regular transportation within Kigali by bus and taxi. The average taxi fare in Kigali is $6-8 and bus fare is $.15. This figure is based on an average of $10 per day in transportation costs during the first project phase.

Transportation within country, phases two and three $12,000 Project personnel will also require regular transportation between rural field sites. If it is not possible to remain overnight, daily trips will be necessary. The average rental rate for a 4×4 vehicle in Rwanda is $130 per day. This estimate is based on an average of $50 per day in transportation costs for the second and third project phases. These costs could be reduced if an arrangement could be made with either a government ministry or international aid agency for transportation assistance.

Email $720 The rate for email service from RwandaTel (the only service provider in Rwanda) is $60 per month. Email access is vital for receiving news reports on Rwanda and the region as well as for staying in contact with dissertation committee members and advisors in the United States.

Audiocassette tapes $400 Audiocassette tapes will be necessary for recording life history interviews, musical performances, community events, story telling, and other pertinent data.

Photographic & slide film $100 Photographic and slide film will be necessary to document visual data such as landscape, environment, marriages, funerals, community events, etc.

Laptop computer $2,895 A laptop computer will be necessary for recording observations, thoughts, and analysis during research project. Price listed is a special offer to UNC students through the Carolina Computing Initiative.

NUD*IST 4.0 software $373.00 NUD*IST, “Nonnumerical, Unstructured Data, Indexing, Searching, and Theorizing,” is necessary for cataloging, indexing, and managing field notes both during and following the field research phase. The program will assist in cataloging themes that emerge during the life history interviews.

Administrative fee $100 Fee set by Fulbright-Hays for the sponsoring institution.

Example #2: Project Timeline in Table Format

Exploratory Research Completed
Proposal Development Completed
Ph.D. qualifying exams Completed
Research Proposal Defense Completed
Fieldwork in Rwanda Oct. 1999-Dec. 2000
Data Analysis and Transcription Jan. 2001-March 2001
Writing of Draft Chapters March 2001 – Sept. 2001
Revision Oct. 2001-Feb. 2002
Dissertation Defense April 2002
Final Approval and Completion May 2002

Example #3: Project Timeline in Chart Format

A chart displaying project activities with activities listed in the left column and grant years divided into quarters in the top row with rectangles darkened to indicate in which quarter each activity in the left column occurs.

Some closing advice

Some of us may feel ashamed or embarrassed about asking for money or promoting ourselves. Often, these feelings have more to do with our own insecurities than with problems in the tone or style of our writing. If you’re having trouble because of these types of hang-ups, the most important thing to keep in mind is that it never hurts to ask. If you never ask for the money, they’ll never give you the money. Besides, the worst thing they can do is say no.

UNC resources for proposal writing

Research at Carolina

The Odum Institute for Research in the Social Sciences

UNC Medical School Office of Research

UNC School of Public Health Office of Research

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Holloway, Brian R. 2003. Proposal Writing Across the Disciplines. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Levine, S. Joseph. “Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal.” .

Locke, Lawrence F., Waneen Wyrick Spirduso, and Stephen J. Silverman. 2014. Proposals That Work . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Przeworski, Adam, and Frank Salomon. 2012. “Some Candid Suggestions on the Art of Writing Proposals.” Social Science Research Council. .

Reif-Lehrer, Liane. 1989. Writing a Successful Grant Application . Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Wiggins, Beverly. 2002. “Funding and Proposal Writing for Social Science Faculty and Graduate Student Research.” Chapel Hill: Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science. 2 Feb. 2004.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The Future of Education Research at IES: Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science (2022)

Chapter: 5 research topics for ncer and ncser grants, 5 research topics for ncer and ncser grants.

The first charge of this committee was to identify critical problems or issues on which new research is needed. We began our response to this charge in Chapter 4 with a discussion of project types (or goals) of studies supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). In this chapter we continue our response to the first charge by considering the other axis of the IES “matrix,” asking what new topics should be addressed by IES-funded research. To inform this question, we heard testimony from a variety of education researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders across the landscape. We examined data on investments by the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) in research across topics over time. We also drew on the committee’s diverse and extensive expertise. However, when sitting down to identify new topics for NCER and NCSER to invest in, the committee struggled to identify a clear set of issues that were not already technically “fundable” in IES’s current structure and organization. At almost every suggestion, the committee found a place in the topic structure where a hypothetical study could technically fit. And yet, it is undeniable that IES has accumulated research evidence in some areas far more than in others.

In this chapter, we describe the nature of this challenge. We begin with an overview of how NCER and NCSER use topics to organize their funding opportunities. We then outline barriers within the existing topic structure that prioritize some forms of research at the expense of others. Next, we provide considerations for how NCER and NCSER might develop a mechanism for revisiting these issues in the future to ensure that the development

of research is dynamic, cumulative, and responsive to changing times. We conclude the chapter by identifying a small set of topics that are of critical, immediate importance.


NCER and NCSER use topic areas to communicate research needs and to help manage applications that come in through their grant competitions (see, for example, p. 2 of the FY2021 NCER Education Research Grants request for applications [RFA] and p. 9 of the FY2021 NCSER Special Education Research Grants RFA for a discussion of how they use research topics). Additionally, topic areas allow the research centers to distribute applications across program officers to provide targeted feedback throughout the application process and to efficiently assign applications to peer reviewers with the appropriate expertise.

In FY2021, there were 11 topics supported by NCER and 9 supported by NCSER (see Table 5-1 for the list of topics).

Across all topics in the Education Research and Special Education Research Grants competitions, applicants are invited to submit proposals to any of IES’s five project types: Exploration, Development and Innovation, Initial Efficacy and Follow-up, Replication/Effectiveness, 1 and Measurement. (See Chapter 4 for our proposed revision to these project types.) Jointly, the intersection of types and topics forms a kind of matrix which serves as an organizational framework for the Education Research Grants and the Special Education Research Grants competitions ( Schneider, 2021 ). 2

In theory, grouping research into these topics allows NCER and NCSER to be responsive to changes in the field: they can take stock of what has been learned and diagnose where further research is necessary. The committee saw evidence of this in practice. NCER and NCSER routinely add or remove topics based on emerging or changing needs. In FY2021, NCER added a new standing topic focused on Civics Education and Social Studies , which had previously been competed as a special topic in FY2019 and FY2020. NCER and NCSER also removed Education Technology and Technology for Special Education as standalone topics, with the rationale that education technology plays a central role across all topic areas. NCER and NCSER have also at times changed the names of topics to reflect


1 For consistency, we include (4) “replication” here, as this is how it has been discussed in Chapter 4 . However, more accurately, this project type does not exist in the most recent RFA. Instead, replication studies have a separate RFA altogether.

2 Other research grant competitions supported by NCER and NCSER do not rely on this matrix structure.

TABLE 5-1 FY2021 NCER and NCSER Topics

Cognition and Student Learning Cognition and Student Learning
Literacy Reading, Writing, and Language
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
Civics Education and Social Studies
Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence
English Learners
Early Learning Programs and Policies Early Intervention and Early Learning
Career and Technical Education Transition to Postsecondary Education, Career, and/or Independent Living
Postsecondary and Adult Education
Families of Children with Disabilities
Effective Instruction Educators and School-Based Service Providers
Improving Education Systems Systems, Policy, and Finance

SOURCE: Committee generated; adapted from Request for Applications ( IES, 2021 ).

changes in conventions in the field or to signal to a broader set of scholars that their research is welcome within a given topic area.

NCER and NCSER also use their annual RFAs as a way to provide broad descriptions of its topics and to indicate areas of “Needed Research.” For example, in the FY2021 NCER RFA, the Cognition and Student Learning topic highlighted the need for “Exploratory research to guide the development and testing of education technology products that can personalize instruction.” One tension the research centers face in providing such descriptions is that investigators who do not see their research interests explicitly named in the topic description may choose to modify the goals of their work. Or worse, they may choose to forego applying to IES entirely. As a result, NCSER has in recent years aimed to broaden the kinds of research it supports by removing language that specifies needed research. 3

Finally, in addition to their lists of standing topics, NCER and NCSER also include special topics within the Education Research Grants and Special Education Research Grants competitions to respond to pressing issues in the field, or to jumpstart research in areas that have not received

3 This sentence was modified after release of the report to IES to correct information about the actions that NCSER has taken to broaden the kinds of research it supports.

adequate attention. For example, in FY2019, NCSER opened a special topic focused on Career and Technical Education for Students with Disabilities that continued into FY2020. In FY2020, it included a special topic on English Learners with Disabilities . These special topics, in theory, allow the research centers to adapt to the changing landscape.


Overall, the committee agreed that IES’s matrix of possible research areas, organized by topics and project types, corresponded well to the broad network of educational research (again, see our proposal for a revised set of project types in Chapter 4 ). The challenge for the field is how research has accumulated across this matrix. Some of this is to be expected: Knowledge will naturally accumulate at varying rates across IES’s project types and topics. For a field as diverse as education, it is understandable that researchers would gravitate toward certain programs of research. But in its review of which topics actually receive funding, the committee noted that, in reality, a series of barriers exist both internal and external to IES that hamper the potential for funding for a set of critically important topics.

Our committee’s key takeaway is that the challenge of topics is situated not within the topics themselves. The current set of topics do a good job representing the field. Instead, the committee determined, the challenge lies in how these topics intersect with the present project type structure. Under the existing structure, studies designed toward certain project types lend themselves to demonstrating rigor as described and prioritized by IES (see Chapter 2 ). In practice, this means that topic areas that can be more readily studied with these methods (i.e., large samples, randomized interventions) are more competitive with reviewers. Further, NCER and NCSER’s focus on student outcomes means that studies that would focus on other outcomes in the system are less likely to receive funding. If investigators focused on outcomes other than those at the level of students are to make their proposals competitive, it means they likely have to change their research questions to focus on students and/or divert project resources to ensure they are meeting IES requirements. The committee’s concern is not that measuring other outcomes is discouraged, but that the requirement to measure students’ academic outcomes takes the focus away from outcomes at other levels, especially for system-level studies. 4

4 In their analysis of public data on NCER- and NCSER-funded projects, Klager and Tipton (2021) reported that in Development and Innovation, Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Replication studies, 71% of NCER-funded and 72% of NCSER-funded studies focused on student factors as malleable conditions, whereas only 18% of NCER-funded and 20% of NCSER-funded studies focused on teachers and even fewer on classroom, school, or system factors (12% NCER, 8% NCSER).

The Case of Teacher Education

To illustrate this challenge, we use the example of research on teacher education—although we acknowledge that the challenges described can easily be applied to many other areas, a point we return to later in this chapter. There are many reasons IES might want to invest in research on teacher education. There is widespread evidence that teachers play a critical role in improving student outcomes (e.g., Hanushek & Rivkin, 2006 ), so initial preparation could serve as a key learning opportunity for future educators (e.g., Theobald et al., 2021 ; Brownell et al., 2019 ; Ronfeldt et al., 2018 ). Further, for an organization such as IES, teacher education could play a complementary role to its existing program of research, ensuring, for example, that future educators are equipped with knowledge on effective academic and behavioral interventions for students. Finally, the field of teacher education would benefit a great deal from the investment. Teacher education remains highly localized, with little consistency in how teachers are prepared across programs ( CRMSE, 2010 ; Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy, 2001 ). And causal evidence in teacher education is exceedingly rare ( Hill, Mancenido, & Loeb, 2020 ).

Yet, across 20 years, NCER and NCSER have funded only a handful of studies explicitly focused on teacher education. This is an area of research where there is a clear need, where the challenges have been longstanding, and where the research centers have simply not made much headway. The topic structure does not seem to be the source of the problem. NCER has always maintained a topic focused on Effective Teaching (previously known as Effective Instruction ), and the studies on teacher education that have been funded have most commonly fallen under this topic (e.g., Grant #R305M060065 (2006), #R305A180023 (2018)). Grantees have also found a home for teacher education research under Systems, Finance and Policy (#R324A170016), and Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships (#R305H170025), among others. In recent RFAs, NCSER has even expressly called for a concerted focus on teacher education research.

So, while the current topic structure looks as though it could fund this work, in practice, teacher education research has largely gone unfunded. The challenge, it seems, relates to the project type structure employed by NCER and NCSER as well as their study requirements. Notably, we could find no teacher education projects that have been funded under the Initial Efficacy and Follow-Up project type (nor the Measurement project type for that matter). All of this work has been either Exploratory or Development studies. The lack of efficacy trials in teacher education may reflect the challenge in applying research designs developed for other contexts (such as K–12 settings) in preservice teaching programs. Efficacy or Effectiveness studies would require a sufficient number of students within a teacher edu-

cation program as well as a sufficient number of programs. Such cross-site coordination rarely occurs. Nor has teacher education research exhibited substantial progress in methodological development ( Hill et al., 2020 ).

A second challenge is the NCER and NCSER requirement that funded studies focus on and include measures of student outcomes. Researchers who study teacher education face problematic constraints in tailoring their research for IES funding. Eventual student outcomes (once preservice teachers transition into their first teaching jobs) are both distal and often secondary to the target of an intervention. More proximal student outcome options are limited, restricted to the progress made by the students of teacher-candidates during the clinical teaching placement, which is only partially attributable to the candidates themselves. Teacher education is certainly not the only area of research subject to these limitations. Studies that would address subject areas that are not tested for accountability purposes, such as science or social studies, have historically run up against similar challenges.

In sum, we argue that the lack of research on teacher education is not one that could be fixed through the mechanism of topics alone. NCER and NCSER could explicitly call out the need for teacher education research—which may be a good idea in its own right—but without making broader changes to their project type structure and to the outcomes they prioritize, it is unlikely that things would change much beyond the current situation.

Teacher education is just one of the many topics that is likely to face challenges like these. Similar claims could be made about research on changing systems or policy effects, where NCER and NCSER have funded considerably fewer projects than other areas, or on improving teacher or administrator quality through professional development. When problems of research do not naturally lend themselves to randomized controlled trials, or when the direct focus of change is on stakeholders other than students, the pathways to funding at IES’s research centers can be prohibitive.


NCER and NCSER have used a number of mechanisms over the years to modify topics included in their grant competitions, whether by adding, combining, or removing standing topics; changing the names of topics; changing descriptions of topics; or holding occasional special topics or topically focused competitions. While our committee acknowledges that these steps have allowed the research centers to adapt over time, we note that in order to truly respond to the field, IES will need to go a step further. A more systematic, transparent process would strengthen IES’s responsiveness to the needs of the education research community. Such a mechanism

could be used to both (1) assess demand for and awareness of research by key stakeholders, and (2) identify where the supply of research is lacking, inconclusive, or contradictory. Such information can then guide efforts in production, curation, or dissemination of research. Where demand exceeds awareness, IES might then promote greater engagement with existing research products. Where supply exists but not in a usable format to satisfy demand, IES might create more usable practice guides or commission syntheses with plain-language recommendations. Where supply and demand are not aligned, IES can then adapt its research portfolio by adjusting its topic by project type matrix, as well as the questions embedded within those topics and project types.

Although research priority setting is a complex process lacking consensus on best practices, some common themes emerge, such as inclusive stakeholder engagement, relevant criteria and methods for deciding on priorities, and transparency ( Viergever et al., 2010 ; Sibbald, et al., 2009 ). Numerous methods have been tested in health research, with a summary and critique of their strengths and weaknesses described by the World Health Organization (2020) . This publication identifies three categories of criteria: public benefit, scientific feasibility, and cost. It also identifies two types of methods for deciding between priorities: consensus-based approaches and metric-based approaches. Consensus approaches (e.g., Ghaffar et al., 2009 ) allow for values to drive priorities, but should be balanced by methods that account for diverging perspectives, such as deliberative dialogues ( McDonald et al., 2009 ). Metric-based approaches (e.g., Rudan et al., 2008 ; Dalkey & Helmer, 1963 ) aggregate perspectives across a broader audience to generate a list of top priorities, which may then be published or undergo further deliberation (e.g., through the James Lind Alliance).

To expand and strengthen IES’s current processes for identifying new research priorities, we highlight key themes rather than suggest the adoption of a specific method to inform research priorities. In particular, we emphasize the important roles for diverse and equitable stakeholder engagement, evidence synthesis, and greater visibility and transparency.

First, engaging with a broader range of stakeholders (policy makers, practitioners, and other community members, as well as researchers) would build a richer picture of where they perceive needs for better research knowledge. While policy makers, practitioners, and the general public would provide key insights about relevance and benefit, researchers would be better positioned to comment on scientific feasibility, as well as where there are unresolved conflicts or gaps in the research base. Both may offer important perspectives on cost, with the former addressing the cost of implementing potential strategies and the latter addressing the cost of conducting the research. Enlisting existing networks, such as the Regional Comprehensive Centers, Regional Education Laboratories, and professional

associations, can help expand IES’s reach. When analyzing stakeholders’ different roles in the research enterprise (e.g., Brugha & Varvasovszky, 2000 ; Haddaway et al., 2017 ), applying an equity lens will be critical for rectifying imbalances in values, opportunities, and impacts ( Nasser et al., 2013 ).

Second, tighter coordination between the priority-setting and evidence synthesis processes would further build understanding of how the evidence base compares to the questions being asked. This could help to identify which topics and questions (1) have existing syntheses which need better dissemination, (2) have existing research which needs to be synthesized, or (3) need more research to be produced. Both NCER and NCSER could work with the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) to commission practice guides, syntheses, or evidence gap maps in response to emerging demand. In Chapter 4 , we also discussed the import of funding research syntheses within a new Knowledge Mobilization project type. Conducting these syntheses across the different goals could illuminate gaps or surpluses in the progression of research. Specifically, they could reveal where there are needs or potential practices (identified during Discovery and Needs Assessment) that lack adequate intervention development, and where promising interventions (from Development and Adaptation) have not yet been adequately evaluated for effectiveness across the range of populations and contexts needed. Alternately, they could reveal where interventions and programs are proliferating, instead of converging on core components. They could reveal where mismatches between research and practice may motivate further study of knowledge mobilization strategies. They could also reveal where new measures are needed or where common measures are needed.

Third, increasing the visibility and transparency of these processes can engage a wider audience in the research enterprise, helping to build awareness, interest, and trust in both existing and emerging research. With clear routines and timelines for engagement, multiple groups of stakeholders would be able to anticipate when and how to provide input and learn about the perspectives of others in the field.

Some potential instantiations of these themes may be to engage in the following activities at routine intervals, such as every 3 years:

  • Form an equity committee that releases data and issues equity reports, documenting areas where research is needed, and reporting who has gotten funded;
  • In collaboration with NCEE, provide mechanisms for broad community input through an online suggestion form, surveys, and focus groups embedded within existing networks (e.g., professional associations);
  • Hold NCER and NCSER researcher panels and community panels for deeper engagement, chaired by a researcher and an IES program officer, who collaborate to identify issues that both the research and practice community see as important unanswered questions in the field;
  • On an ongoing and rotating basis, conduct research syntheses based on existing topics, identifying gaps in the research knowledge. Researchers can apply for the (small) contract to complete the synthesis;
  • Delineate and document these processes and outcomes transparently, so that stakeholders understand opportunities for input and how their input is being used.

Implementing the above procedures would provide IES with ongoing information about urgent and emerging needs within the field. But given the current circumstances—including both an unprecedented global pandemic and necessary racial reckoning for continued acts of prejudice and violence against historically marginalized groups in this country—the committee would be remiss if it did not provide specific guidance surrounding topics that likely demand immediate action. The field cannot wait for IES to update its processes for integrating new information from more systematic processes if education is to meet the challenge these historical circumstances demand. Thus, drawing on testimony, commissioned papers, our committee’s collective expertise, and the crosscutting themes identified in this report, we nominate a small number of topics that merit a concerted investment in the coming years. These nominations should not be taken as an exhaustive or restrictive list; rather, they are examples of areas of potential study that emerge when the field is engaged in a process of assessing its needs.

Civil Rights Policy and Practices

Education researchers have produced valuable empirical and conceptual studies on the context of equity in education over the past 20 years. From this literature, it is clear that U.S. schools are more diverse racially and ethnically, but also more segregated and unequal. This paradox is due, in part, to historical legacies of policies related to housing, zoning, and employment, all of which are affected by racial injustice. More recently, in the past two decades, the courts have moved away from desegregation as a remedy for state-sponsored segregation, even as schools continue to be marked by deepening stratification ( Gamoran, Collares, & Barfels, 2016 ).

Economic inequality is also at historic highs ( Gamoran, 2015 ), and the relationship between racial and economic inequality is deeply intertwined and expressed in housing, labor, health, and educational opportunities ( Reardon et al., 2021 ). The COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis, and the struggles to find and maintain reliable housing, food, and health care have deep implications for educational institutions, educational interventions, and the study and measurement of both. For too long, researchers have been trained to elide these contexts in their examinations of educational innovations, and as a result, missed opportunities to build the field’s understanding of the importance of the intimate linkages between the context of schooling and learning and achievement.

IES, through NCER and NCSER, has an opportunity to help build our understanding of how interventions and approaches to teaching, learning, and school processes are informed by these contextual factors for the range of students being educated. In addition, there are important understandings of the within-school practices related to racial and socioeconomic inequality that could be enriched by further robust research ( Horsford, 2011 ). For example, Black, Latinx, and Native American students are far more likely to experience discipline in schools that leads to suspension or expulsion ( Losen et al., 2016 ; Okonofua & Eberhardt, 2015 ). Also important, students whose identities exist at intersections, such as Black, LGBTQIA, disabled, and/or multilingual children and adolescents, are especially vulnerable to being targeted for harsh discipline that harms their opportunities to learn and predicts greater likelihood for disassociating from school, dropping out, and becoming part of the carceral system as they are referred to police and the courts for behavioral infractions, or simply failing to reach their potential as learners ( Scott et al., 2017 ; Shedd, 2016 ; Skiba et al., 2011 ).

Given the challenges within K–12 schooling and for students with disabilities from preschool through age 21, along with the deepening and persistent inequalities that shape school systems, the teaching force, and the learning conditions within and across schools, it is imperative to support and strengthen different epistemological and methodological approaches for investigating issues at the intersection of education and civil rights. As Johnson (2021) argued, IES is not yet equipped with the expertise and systemic data collection and databases to answer questions about racialized mechanisms that shape learning opportunities, experiences with racism and violence in and out of school, and the effects of carceral policies within and out of school. IES could help to support the development of robust metrics to understand race, racialization, and racism in schools and systems; support interventions to remedy inequality; and identify cases that have made progress towards equitable outcomes ( Scott et al., 2020 ).

Consistent with the committee’s focus on equity as a crosscutting theme, and in line with President Biden’s Executive Order on Racial Equity (EO

13985), the committee sees a need for the future of IES-funded research to be purposively oriented toward addressing the needs of underserved communities. To these ends, IES could better support research on equity and civil rights policies by funding research that responds to the education field’s knowledge of how racial injustice in the structures, processes, and practices of schools and systems have an impact on learning and lifetime outcomes by supporting new research on what schools and other education settings can do to mitigate these effects. This might include, for example, research on

  • School discipline: Disparities in discipline are well documented, and schools are engaged in a variety of strategies intended to reduce or eliminate these disparities. IES-funded researchers would find willing partners in states and school systems committed to better understanding the conditions that give rise to disparities and the diverse impacts of efforts (such as restorative approaches) to mitigate them.
  • Services and supports for students with disabilities: Students with disabilities are likely to have experienced considerable challenges to receiving appropriate supports and services, and considerations for effective mechanisms for engaging students in productive ways educationally are needed.
  • COVID-19 and orphans: Over 160,000 children in the United States and 1.5 million worldwide have lost a parent or caregiver. With these numbers likely to grow given unequal access to health care, and with Black, Latinx, and Native American children more likely to have experienced such loss, it is necessary to know how the practice of education can be made responsive to the trauma inflicted by the pandemic on educational opportunities and student well-being, learning, and educational attainment ( Cluver, 2021 ; Imperial College of London, 2021 ; Treglia et al., 2021 ).
  • Bullying and violence prevention: School violence and bullying pose serious problems, especially for students with intersectional identities based on race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity ( Esplenage, 2015 ). Research is needed to identify programs that may work, in specific contexts, to eliminate violence and bullying, with a focus on structural conditions as the source of the problem and the student experience, rather than achievement as the outcome.
  • School racial composition: Ongoing research indicates that racial segregation exacerbates inequality because it concentrates Black and Latinx students in high-poverty schools, which tend to be less effective than low-poverty schools ( Reardon et al., 2021 ). Research is needed to examine voluntary and mandatory policies to break
  • the link between segregation and concentrated poverty and to ensure high-quality learning opportunities for all children.

Teaching Quality and the Teacher Workforce

Teachers (in both general and special education) serve as the primary interface between students and education in the United States, and yet improving the quality of the teacher workforce represents a notably understudied part of NCER and NCSER’s portfolio. To be clear, many IES-funded studies have relied on teachers, often as the ones who carry out academic or behavioral interventions. Less common are studies that focus specifically on changing the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions of the teacher workforce. As described previously in this chapter, many of the reasons for this go beyond the question of topics. With IES’s strong focus on student outcomes, researchers have had fewer avenues for exploring interventions where teacher outcomes are the focus. As we note later in Chapter 6 , there has been minimal investment in measurement studies focused on teacher outcomes. The field lacks both IES-funded studies that have focused explicitly on teachers as well as suitable tools for measuring the effects of interventions targeting teachers. 5

The committee identified research on improving the teaching workforce as a pressing need within both NCER and NCSER. Improving the workforce is a longstanding need but one that has intensified in response to changes in the educational landscape. As articulated in the recent National Academies’ report on the teacher workforce: “Teachers are called on to educate an increasingly diverse student body, to enact culturally responsive pedagogies, and to have a deeper understanding of their students’ socioemotional growth. Integrating these various, layered expectations places substantially new demands on teachers” ( NASEM, 2020 , p. 187) as educators are tasked with supporting students in the wake of COVID-19.

The committee recognized the need for research addressing teacher education (TEd) and professional development (PD). Although there is substantial empirical evidence about the critical importance of teachers for promoting students’ academic and long-term success (e.g., Chetty, Friedman, & Rockoff, 2014 ; Aaronson, Barrow, & Sander, 2007 ; Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007 ; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005 ; Darling-Hammond, 2000 ), there are sizable knowledge gaps about the initial preparation and

5 The committee wishes to note that school leaders and other professional leaders clearly deserve the same scholarly attention as teachers, and are similarly overlooked in IES’s portfolio for the reasons highlighted in this chapter. Though teachers play a particular role in supporting student achievement because of their direct proximity to students, it is also critically important to understand the impact and potential of other professionals in the school building and throughout the education system.

PD of teachers ( Hill, Manciendo, & Loeb, 2021 ; Phelps & Sykes, 2020 ; Fryer, 2017 ; Waitoller & Artiles, 2013 ; Sindelar, Brownell, & Billingsley, 2010 ). Research on TEd in this field has been described as “scattered and thin” ( Sindelar et al., 2010 , p. 13). Reviews of the literature have consistently described the research foundation in these domains as “weak” and identified limitations in the quality and focus of this scholarship ( Ronfeldt, 2021 ; Brownell et al., 2019 ; National Research Council, 2010 ; Sindelar et al., 2010 ; Cochran-Smith & Zeichner, 2009 ; Wilson et al., 2001 ). Research on pedagogical practices has been emphasized in the past two decades, but “knowledge accumulation on teacher education … has been uneven and in many areas, sparse” ( Brownell et al., 2019 , p. 35). Greater support for research on the initial and continuing education of teachers will improve the design and impact of these programs and interventions, improve teacher quality, and ultimately influence the quality of services provided to students. Specific considerations for additional research are as follows:

  • Systematically investing in a range of kinds of research studies to bolster knowledge of effective systems of teacher professional learning that better prepares teachers to effectively meet the needs of a range of learners including those with disabilities. For example, in the case of teacher education, this might look like (a) effectiveness studies to establish teacher education practices resulting in improved candidate outcomes, (b) qualitative studies to explore promising practices and underlying mechanisms, and (c) descriptive studies linking program features to long-term candidate and student outcomes. This will contribute to the advancement of a knowledge base that is rich in explanatory and contextualized models.
  • Identifying effective approaches for preparing educators for the complexities of the student population, changing professional roles, and the improvement of outcomes for all students.
  • Substantiating research programs on teacher learning with a close attention to theory. Scholars have noted the lack of a sustained and coherent approach in the study of TEd and PD ( Billingsley & Bettini, 2019 ; Brownell et al., 2019 ; Kennedy, 2019 ).
  • Exploring research designs that support causal inferences in the contexts of TEd and PD research.
  • Developing measures that are proximal to the goals of teacher education and professional development. As an example, recent advances have been made in measuring teacher content knowledge and establishing parameters for using teacher content knowledge as an outcome measure in cluster randomized trials (e.g., Kelcey et al., 2017 ; Phelps et al., 2016 ). Similar lines of research are necessary to
  • develop validated, useable measures of teachers’ practice that might complement existing observation tools.
  • Studying the broader workforce issues that impact the success of TEd and PD opportunities, including ongoing issues related to teacher supply. Issues of teacher supply are particularly relevant in special education where teacher shortages have existed for decades. In the past 20 years, the landscape of teacher licensure has changed dramatically, with the proliferation of a variety of programs and pathways into the classroom ( NASEM, 2020 ). Researchers have begun to look generally at how licensure pathways shape the teaching workforce ( Ronfeldt, 2021 ), but further work is necessary. In particular, we need further research on how best to support schools in staffing the hardest areas to fill (special education, science, technology, engineering, and math).
  • Understanding the intersection between education technology and teacher learning in both TEd and PD. This may include, for example, examining the effectiveness of new online TEd or PD programs. Or, it may involve technology to supplement existing learning opportunities, such as the use of simulations in teacher education or providing automated feedback to educators based on videos of classroom instruction.
  • Increasing synergies and complementarities in TEd and PD research in general and special education. Increasing awareness of the complexities of student needs complicates the initial preparation and PD of teachers. Teachers are expected to provide quality instruction and social-emotional learning supports to the range of learners in their classrooms. These expectations include how to differentiate instruction and build trusting relationships to provide genuine support that the range of learners (e.g., gifted, students with disabilities, learners from low-resourced families, culturally and linguistically diverse students) require in today’s schools. These requirements and expectations are inadequately addressed in TEd and PD scholarship. General education teachers get minimal preparation on how to educate students with disabilities. A complicating factor is that TEd and PD in general and special education operate with disparate conceptions of teaching and learning with little cross-pollinations. These systemic barriers disadvantage general and special education teachers while the expectations for coordinated collaborative work continue to increase (e.g., Response to Intervention and Multi-tiered system of supports models). Research in TEd and PD is urgently needed to address these gaps.

Education Technology

Education technology is the use of digital technologies and related software with the goal to enhance learning. A report commissioned by IES, A Compendium of Education Technology Research Funded by NCER and NCSER: 2002–2014 ( Yamaguchi & Hall, 2017 ), defines the uses of technology as support for student learning, support of teachers and instructional practice, and support of research and school improvement. The compendium recognizes that education technology can support the development of metacognitive and social strategies, support learners with special needs, support collaborative learning, extend learning beyond traditional boundaries of the classroom, connect learners who are geographically dispersed, and expand learning beyond formal environments into informal settings such as museums, cultural institutions, and learners’ homes. Similarly, technology has the potential to transform teacher instruction, teacher professional development, and teacher practice. Additionally, schools and their leaders use technology for a range of administrative tasks, to support data-driven decision making, and help devise strategies to increase equity.

IES competed Education Technology as a separate topic from 2008 to 2020 but not in 2021 or 2022. The RFA for the 2022 competition calls for related research in three of the topics: It lists the “development and testing of interventions designed to support all learners in becoming digitally literate citizens in the 21st century, including those which integrate new forms of technology within social studies programs, such as social media, multiuser virtual environments, virtual and augmented reality, and wearables” (p. 13) under the Civics Education and Social Studies topic; “Exploratory research to guide the development and testing of education technology products that can personalize instruction” (p. 14) in the Cognition and Student Learning topic; and calls for researchers to investigate how “technology be leveraged for more effective reading and writing instruction” (p. 19) under the Literacy topic.

The committee expressed concerns about the decision not to separately compete Education Technology at this historic moment in time because the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the critical importance of education technology to support continuity in formal schooling and informal learning ( Schwartz et al., 2020 ). The pandemic has also revealed deep inequities in access to educational technologies across the country. Where education technology was available, the experience of remote learning forced by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 has shown the deep limitations of current education technology infrastructure, products, practices, and research ( Consortium for School Networking, 2021 ; Sahni et al., 2021 ; Education Endowment Foundation, 2020 ; Gallagher & Cottingham, 2020 ). As a nation, we now also recognize that inequity, lack of diversity, and lack of

inclusion is not only unjust, but also it prevents us from unlocking the full potential of the next generations. Even though the committee recognized that ultimately, education technology needs to serve the specific topics taught in schools, it has become clearer than ever that more research is needed to guide the design of the next generation of education technology tools, and that this research involves many issues that are broader than the specific topics for which IES provides research support. Recent analyses have estimated, for example, that the education technology market will grow by $112.39 billion from 2020 to 2025 ( Technavio, 2021 ). Among the drivers of this growth are artificial intelligence applications, including machine learning, and game-based learning ( PRNewswire, 2021 ). The use of these technologies in the classroom requires a significant, dedicated investment into rigorous research that informs their design to ensure they serve the needs of the learners.

The committee therefore believes that Education Technology proposals should be invited that investigate these broader topics, and that these proposals should be reviewed by a dedicated Education Technology panel. The committee expressed a sense of urgency for this kind of education technology research, as the recognition of the importance of education technology as a result of remote schooling during the pandemic has already begun to result in the development of many new digital tools for learning, support of teachers, and support of schools, which would benefit from this kind of research.

Further, additional research is warranted to more fully explore the relationships between technology and the broader learning environments in which the technology is used. This plays out in two corresponding ways. First, education technology research must examine the ways in which biases become embedded in the design of technology ( Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2008 ). For example, this requires opening up the “black box” of the algorithms for greater transparency in how user profiles and predictive analytics are used to constrain or expand learning opportunities for students based on prior experiences and characteristics ( Rospigliosi, 2021 ). Second, education technology research should examine how technology is embedded within learning environments, or how technology is designed for real-life contexts, social interactions, and cultural influences. This includes how students, teachers, and families use and augment the technology; the role of the “digital divide” in access to resources, including broadband Internet as well as various technological devices; and the moderating influence of peers on students’ use and engagement with technology ( van Dijk, 2020 ; Zheng et al., 2017 ; Jeong & Hmelo-Silver, 2016 ).

The above concerns highlight the importance for education technology research to have a strong grounding in the theoretical mechanisms of learning under investigation, to guard against research and technology that

perpetuate bias and inequity. Theoretical transparency will be essential when building and testing new technologies. The kinds of predictive modeling used to personalize instruction for students often depends on a massive amount of student data, demanding close attention to questions about whether the available data are appropriate for the questions being explored, the conditions under which the data were collected, who and what may be missing from the data, how to balance the information gained from the data with the need to protect privacy, and what additional measures may be worth developing ( Schwabish & Feng, 2021 ; Regan & Jesse, 2019 ). Given inequitable access to education technology, including variation in how schools deploy technology for students across different achievement levels ( Lee et al., 2021 ), ensuring that such research is not extractive and has relevance across a broad range of populations and contexts takes on even greater importance.

Questions that should be addressed in research on Education Technology supported by NCER and NCSER include, but are not limited to

  • Development of new pedagogies and theoretical approaches addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in education technology;
  • Ethically aligned design processes for education technology that benefit from knowledge mobilization and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Meaningful integration of responsible, accountable, and transparent analytics in learning environments;
  • Approaches to personalization, adaptivity, and adaptability that incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion; focus on transparency; and go beyond learning progressions and adapting for learners’ current level of knowledge;
  • Use of artificial intelligence-based approaches for novel education technology solutions, including personalization, adaptivity, and adaptability;
  • Measurement approaches for learning outcomes, as well as learner state and learner trait variables, using longitudinal log data from education technology environments;
  • Approaches to reliably measuring accountability/attendance versus engagement versus competency in remote learning, and the relative value of each of these outcomes;
  • Designing methods of efficacy and effectiveness research harnessing user logs from widely available education technology environments;
  • Development of standards for user logging and policies for data collection, storage, and ownership in education technology environments; and
  • Effective strategies for the commercialization of successful research prototypes of education technology solutions.

Additional questions that should be addressed in research on Education Technology supported by NCSER could include strategies for use of assistive technology for simulations, games, virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, and similar advanced technologies.


While the current moment motivates the need for further research on specific topics across IES, the committee encourages IES to give specific consideration to pressing challenges facing the field of special education. What makes the re-examination of NCSER’s topics so urgent? Among all groups of students affected by COVID-19, it is becoming increasingly clear that the consequences have been particularly pronounced among students with disabilities. The lack of access to specialized instruction during remote instruction ( GAO, 2020 ), coupled with the fact that students too often lost out on legally mandated services throughout the pandemic ( Morris, 2021 ), presents the very real threat of a further widening of academic and career outcomes between students with and without disabilities. Additionally, as the United States grapples with the consequences of structural racism throughout its institutions, it cannot be overlooked that disability identification is racially stratified, and a better understanding is needed on how special education interventions and other programs function for different subpopulations of students. Finally, key policy shifts in recent years have established an even stronger warrant for the quality of special education practice. The 2017 Supreme Court case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District established the responsibility that a school district’s special education services produce “appropriate progress” for a given student’s needs ( Kauffman et al., 2021 ; Lemons et al., 2018 ). In other words, schools are to be held accountable for ensuring that the instruction they provide results in academic and behavioral gains in line with what is established in a child’s Individualized Education Program. This precedent warrants a close investigation into the totality of services students receive. In the next section, we offer several opportunities for enhancing the knowledge base in special education. These are provided as examples only of possible directions.

Expanding a Focus Beyond Identifying Effective Programs

Identifying the programs that are effective for individuals with disabilities and their families has been an important and necessary focus of IES

through NCSER. In addition to program efficacy/effectiveness, it is critical to better understand the teaching practices and instructional contexts in which students with disabilities are provided opportunities for accessing beneficial educational outcomes, both academically and behaviorally. Most of the teaching that teachers do throughout the day is not derived directly from a “program.” They design, implement, and evaluate teaching by taking in resources (curricula, professional development, texts, materials), filtering these resources through their own knowledge and perceived needs of their students while navigating institutional affordances and constraints (e.g., district curricular policies, instructional reform mandates, school assessment initiatives), and then co-constructing teaching-learning processes and outcomes. With this in mind, it is critically important to support programs of research that document the multifaceted processes and contingencies that surround the complex work of teachers.

For example, much has been learned in the past two decades about how people learn (as described in Chapter 2 of this report), although much of that work has been conducted outside of special education contexts. IES, through NCSER, is ideally suited to support work that further extends the learning science work to individuals with disabilities and special education teachers. For example, outside of special education, scholarship in content-area instruction (e.g., mathematics, science, history and civics) has shifted increasingly toward inquiry-oriented approaches to instruction; how do these practices affect the learning outcomes of individuals with disabilities? To what extent are students with disabilities engaged in activities and provided opportunities to access learning with their general education classmates? Pedagogies that vary between general and special education may have real consequences for students with disabilities, because neither field has provided suitable guidance on how to support this population as they navigate activity-based classroom work. How can teachers scaffold these learning activities to ensure that students are developing foundational skills as well as higher-order skills and concepts?

Understanding How School Contexts and Structures Support Inclusion and Access to Improved Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

Perhaps one of the most persistent themes in education for students with disabilities is the provision of access to the general education classroom—for whom, under what conditions, and the instructional arrangements associated with positive outcomes within these arrangements. In light of the standards for special education established through Endrew F. , the field must tackle the question of how educators, collectively, can work to ensure that students make appropriate academic progress. Most educators would agree that inclusion in the general education classroom is a goal for students with

disabilities, but researchers have largely ignored the question of whether specific inclusion policies are associated with improved student outcomes. For example, despite the widespread use of co-teaching (where a general educator and special educator provide instruction in the same classroom) as a service delivery model, there is virtually no causal evidence supporting whether the practice actually leads to improved student outcomes ( Jones & Winters, 2020 ; Solis et al., 2012 ). NCSER is ideally suited to support research that will better inform educators about inclusive practices and models that yield beneficial outcomes for students and their families.

A related area where expanded research is necessary is in better understanding how other contextual factors outside of classroom teachers can positively impact students with disabilities. These factors include professionals (e.g., school psychologists, physical therapists, speech and language therapists); for example, Mulhern (2020) provided causal evidence that school counselors can affect student attainment at levels approaching typical teacher effects. It will also be important to continue expanding research on the role of families in supporting outcomes among students with disabilities. In addition, research on the mediating effects of organizational factors, the layering of multiple (often contradictory) policies, and sociohistorical legacies (e.g., community and school racial segregation) in the implementation and outcomes of inclusive models is urgently needed.


In this chapter, the committee describes its finding that a series of barriers exists both internal and external to IES that hampers the potential for funding for a set of critically important topics. While the current set of topics does a good job representing the field, these constraints limit the extent to which IES can fund research in areas that are pivotal in efforts toward improving student achievement. Ultimately, reimagining the project types alone (as we have recommended in Chapter 4 of this report) will not address the numerous ways that topics, although technically fundable, are unlikely to get funded in the current topic structure. The committee recognizes that without attention to how the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) is enacted in RFA requirements, as well as the review process, it will be difficult to fund research that looks at interventions targeting teachers or systems in particular. Further, as we describe in Chapter 4 , fealty to the methodological rigor associated with experimental design has also limited the use of alternative methods for deep understanding of the context in which interventions work (or do not). Finally, the committee recognizes that there are a set of factors (e.g., teacher knowledge and practice, school and district organizational contexts) that matter for supporting student outcomes; it is essential that these factors are attended to in the design and development of studies.


Existing constraints or priorities in the RFA structure and review process have narrowed the kinds of studies within topics that are proposed and successfully funded. In order to expand the kinds of studies that are proposed and successfully funded in NCER and NCSER, IES should consider the following:

  • Allowing use of outcomes beyond the student level (classroom, school, institution, district) as the primary outcome
  • Expanding the choice of research designs for addressing research questions that focus on why, how, and for whom interventions work

In advance of these structural changes, however, the committee recognizes that the current moment of racial reckoning and responding to COVID-19 require immediate scholarly attention. Given the issues in education that are emerging at breakneck pace and the subsequent demand for assistance from the field, the committee thinks that designating separate competitions for certain topics is warranted in order to signal their importance even though these topics might technically be “fundable” in existing competitions.


Within each of its existing and future topic area competitions, IES should emphasize the need for research focused on equity.


In order to encourage research in areas that are responsive to current needs and are relatively neglected in the current funding portfolio, NCER and NCSER should add the following topics:

  • Civil rights policy and practice
  • Teacher education and education workforce development
  • Education technology and learning analytics


IES should offer new research competitions under NCSER around these topics:

  • Teaching practices associated with improved outcomes for students with disabilities
  • Classroom and school contexts and structures that support access and inclusion for improved outcomes for students with disabilities
  • Issues specific to low-incidence populations

The topics listed above represent priorities identified by the committee based on our understanding of the current state of education research. This list is not intended to be exhaustive or restrictive; rather, these topics are examples of the types of topics that emerge through consistent, focused engagement with the field. Indeed, the committee recognizes that education research is perennially evolving in response to both the production of knowledge as well as the circumstances in the world. For this reason, the committee advises that the list of topics funded by the centers should also evolve in order to remain responsive to the needs of the field. This responsiveness is a necessary component of fulfilling the obligations laid out in ESRA: In order to “sponsor sustained research that will lead to the accumulation of knowledge and understanding of education,” it is important to fully understand not only what knowledge has accumulated, but also where the existing gaps are.


IES should implement a systematic, periodic, and transparent process for analyzing the state of the field and adding or removing topics as appropriate. These procedures should incorporate

  • Mechanisms for engaging with a broad range of stakeholders to identify needs
  • Systematic approaches to identifying areas where research is lacking by conducting syntheses of research, creating evidence gap maps, and obtaining input from both practitioners and researchers
  • Public-facing and transparent communication about how priority topics are being identified

The committee expects that these recommendations, implemented in concert with one another, will allow NCER and NCSER to support research that meets the immediate needs of the field while simultaneously ensuring that it can nimbly adapt to shifting priorities as they inevitably emerge. In the following chapter, we turn to a discussion of how NCER and NCSER might update its work in the area of methods and measures.

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In 2002 Congress passed the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA), authorizing the creation of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) as the research, evaluation, statistics, and assessment arm of the Department of Education, and crystallizing the federal government's commitment to providing national leadership in expanding fundamental knowledge and understanding of education from early childhood through postsecondary study. IES shares information on the condition and progress of education in the United States, including early childhood education and special education; educational practices that support learning and improve academic achievement and access to educational opportunities for all students; and the effectiveness of federal and other education programs.

In response to a request from the Institute of Education Sciences, this report provides guidance on the future of education research at the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research, two centers directed by IES. This report identifies critical problems and issues, new methods and approaches, and new and different kinds of research training investments.


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The Complete Guide to Getting Funding for a Student Research Project: 6 Steps & 39 Resources [2024]

funding research topics

The fact that you are interested in this article tells a lot about you as a person. You are an intelligent student who dreams about pursuing a research career. You love to read and analyze information. Even more than that, you adore debating with your peers about abstract concepts. You would gladly spend a lifetime researching your sphere of interest. However, there’s one big “but” – money . Our world would be a much better place if young scientists did not have to search for a source of income to support themselves. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Let us be frank. You cannot work part-time and be a full-time researcher. Moreover, it is nearly impossible to make enough money to live on while studying for your Ph.D. course. The question is, then, how can you find funding for research projects?

This article will help you become a successful researcher. We have made a comprehensive guide to getting research funding, added 7 useful tips and 5 common mistakes made even by experienced grantees. We have also collected 39 resources for finding grant opportunities and sorted them by research areas.

Thanks to these materials, we are certain that we will hear about your breakthrough discovery in the news one day.

❓ What Is a Research Grant?

  • ♻️ The Grant Lifecycle
  • 🤩 Preparing a Proposal
  • 🏆 7 Grant Application Tips

🙅 5 Common Mistakes

  • 🌐 39 Research Grant Sources

Research grants are monetary funds provided by various institutions to support or fund research projects by universities, individuals, or scientific groups. Some of the funders are private companies, and others are large international organizations.

The amounts of money they offer range from small one-time awards to multi-year fellowships covering all the research and living expenses of the people involved.

All funding sources in the US come from two large groups . The first one comprises all governmental and non-profit organizations, and the second includes for-profit businesses.

The picture contains two groups of sourses for research grants.

No matter which grant you apply for, the following criteria define your success:

  • Did you meet all the application form requirements?
  • Is your research proposal interesting to the funding organization?

♻️ The Grant Lifecycle: 10 Parts

The grant lifecycle consists of ten parts. The first five are your responsibility, and the last five are completed by the awarding entity or at least partly depend on it.

The picture contains a list of research proposal structural elements.

  • Will you be doing pilot research, a dissertation, post-doctoral research , or experimental fieldwork?
  • What is the planned result of your work (a publication, a book, etc.)?
  • How long will your work last?
  • How will you distribute the grant money?
  • Locate the prospective grantors. Please check the final section of this article for all sorts of information on this point.
  • What kind of knowledge do you plan to obtain as a result of your project? (Your goals)
  • Why is it worth investigating? (The research significance)
  • How will you check the validity of the findings? (Success criteria)
  • Prepare a specific proposal for the particular grantor. Personalize what you have written in the previous point according to the requirements in the grant description.
  • Submit your application for research funding before the deadline. Even if your proposal is better than those of your competitors, submission after the deadline is sufficient grounds for its rejection.
  • The institution evaluates your proposal. Sit back and wait while your fate is determined.
  • You receive an award letter. If not, then you should choose another grantor and start back at point 4.
  • You accept the award. Don’t delay in answering the letter that informs you about the prize. A late answer can send your grant to a different person.
  • You perform the project. Now it’s time to use the grant. Do your best, as there’s still one more step.
  • You report to the grantor. Most institutions provide you with detailed instructions on what this report should look like. We recommend that you start to prepare it long before the end of the project, hopefully as soon as you start getting the first results.

We would suggest looking through an essays database for written proposals to see how they’re done and what topics they cover.

The most important part of a successful application is your well-defined, realistic research proposal. The following section dives deeper into this point.

🤩 Preparing an Impressive Proposal: 6 Steps

A grant application is a paper or set of documents submitted to an institution or entity with the intent to obtain funding for research projects. The form of a proposal varies, depending on the discipline. For example, an application to fund a research project in philosophy or the arts presupposes different results than more practical disciplines, like biology or psychology.

Some Masters and Ph.D. students in the humanities or arts lack a more structured and “scholarly” approach to their proposal. The topic may inspire them so much that they forget to speak about questions, hypotheses, and the overall research design. However, that’s exactly what funding organizations expect you to do.

For this reason, the first thing you should do is plan the results of your research . All the remaining items will fall into place if you use the following steps.

Step 1. Narrow Down Your Focus

At this preliminary stage, you should:

  • Decide if the subject field is worth the effort.
  • Find out if it is sufficiently narrow.
  • Ask yourself how you are going to make the research results engaging to your audience.
  • Formulate the topic and explain why it is important.
  • List the research question you plan to answer.
  • Suggest your hypothesis.
  • Outline your research methods (quantitative/qualitative).

As soon as you have narrowed down the scope of opportunities, look for suitable grantors.

Step 2. Think of Your Audience

At this stage, it is time to select applicable grants and funding organizations.

For this purpose, we recommend that you consult the final section of this article , where we have prepared the most comprehensive list of funding sources available in 2023.

Try to select several grantors since, in general, the awarding rate is extremely low and the competition is very high. You can submit personalized versions of your research proposal to all of them.

Regardless of your research discipline, all reviewers are humans. Address them as colleagues competent in their domain. However, they might not know every detail of your research. Explain the details you consider complicated.

Note that reviewers never read every word of students’ proposals. As a rule, they look through the abstract, research design sections, methodology, budget, and your resume. Polish these sections to look their best.

Step 3. Think of Your Style

Have you ever considered that your writing style can tell a lot about you as a person, scholar, researcher, and specialist?

The reviewers of your proposal will see how creative, analytical, logical, and competent you are by how your proposal is written and formatted.

The most important thing they will judge is whether you can bring the intended project to its successful completion.

You should follow the conventions of your discipline in terms of style and methodology. Also, within reason, try to show your personality and creativity.

Step 4. Make a Plan

The most significant benefit of writing a preliminary proposal is a better understanding of what to expect from your project.

A general proposal or a “white paper” is a draft version of your research proposal . Most people apply for research grants to several agencies at a time. You cannot submit the same text to all of them since the requirements usually differ. But the general proposal is a great way to visualize the estimated budget and timeline.

At this stage, you need to calculate how much your project will cost. For this purpose, prepare the timeline. It can include the following steps:

  • Explanatory research and literature study.
  • Fieldwork at a hospital or in the place where the studied social group resides.
  • Data transcription and systematization.
  • Analysis of the findings.
  • Writing the draft paper.
  • Approval and completion.

Once you are done with that, answer these questions and sum up the results regarding each timeline point:

  • What are the transportation costs?
  • What are the accommodation costs?
  • Do you need extra money to pay for your living expenses?
  • What will these be?
  • Why did you opt for them?
  • How much do they cost?
  • Do they need to be qualified in the sphere of your study?
  • Do you need random people to fill in questionnaires?
  • Is there a possibility that these groups will help you for free?

Step 5. Organize Your Proposal

All grantors have specific requirements, but here is a sample outline of how to get funding for research projects. These sections are standard, and in most cases, the grantors will ask you to provide some additional information.

The general advice is to format the proposal to make it look professional and easy to read.

If it is long, include a table of contents and add page numbers.

The picture contains a list of research proposal structural elements.

Create a concise and clear title. Include your name and the names of any other co-authors. If you already know the institution and the faculty where you will conduct the research, indicate them. We also recommend that you specify the project’s start and end dates (see your timeline).

You can include the name and address of the grantor who will receive your proposal. Some funding agencies request that applicants provide the authorizing signatures of their university personnel on the title page. In all cases, follow the instructions given by the potential grantor.

An abstract is where you make the first (and last) impression. Before making the final decision on who receives the award, reviewers reread the abstracts of the shortlisted applicants.

Write this section in the future tense , stating the purpose, milestones, goals, methods, research design, and rationale.


Here you should state the problem that your research will tackle.

List the goals of the project and highlight its importance for science and the public in general.

Roughly speaking, an introduction is a detailed version of your abstract . It has the same structure but provides deeper insight into what your project is about.

Be sure to describe the background of the problem and establish the research relevance. It is a good idea to specify any unique methodologies you plan to apply to make your proposal stand out among others. However, remember that an introduction is not the project narrative. Leave all the details for the main body.

Literature Review

In this section, you should show the reviewers that you have done your homework. Make your literature review selective and brief : you should not repeat everything you have read on the topic. In addition, be critical and highlight the drawbacks and the strong points of the pertinent works.

Project Description

This section is the central and longest part of your paper.

It comprises the procedures, methodology , objectives, findings, evaluation, and conclusion.

Divide it into subsections, and be sure to list them in the table of contents.

Foresee the reviewers’ questions and answer them here. If you will use a non-typical research method for the discipline, explain your choice. Or, if you plan to visit a foreign library and are requesting funds for your trip, specify which documents you expect to find there.

Budget Justification

Budget justification contains two categories of expenses: personnel-related and performance-related . If you are the only person working on the project, skip the first part. But if you need skilled researchers to assist you, describe the desired qualifications and the skills they should possess. Add the CVs of the people you have already found to the proposal folio.

If there is very little data, the performance-related budget can usually appear in a table, but if the expense items are detailed and numerous, use a spreadsheet.

The general advice here is to be sincere. Always include a total budget and never hide any future costs.

The worst scenario is that you would have to suspend your project due to a lack of funds. The same advice is valid when the proposed grant amount is smaller than you need. The funding agency can provide money for some part of the project, and you might be able to apply for additional funding from the same agency or a different one later on.

Step 6. Revise It

We strongly recommend that you submit your research proposal for revision to your professor or any other person specializing in the topic in question. But before doing that, look over it several times.

  • Is it easy to read?
  • Are there logical connections between the sections?
  • Are the language and style formal and academic?

As with any paper, you should check it for plagiarism, typos, and grammatical errors.

🏆 Applying for a Research Grant: 7 Tips

In this section, you’ll find a list of tips for those who wish to make a winning research proposal. Hope they’ll be useful!

  • Be modest but straightforward in your request . Research grants for students, and undergraduates, in particular, rarely offer much financial support. Never overstate the amount you need. Requesting too much money is the most frequent reason for proposal rejection.
  • Find a professor whose sphere of interest coincides with the topic of your intended research. Cooperating with peers can be helpful, but they often have conflicts of interest. Working under the supervision of a professor can eliminate that problem. Even more importantly, the advice of a qualified and experienced researcher is priceless. This person has walked in your shoes many times before. Besides, the result of supervised research can be an excellent framework to start a publication process in a reputed edition. It is possible even if you are a student, provided that the professor who helps you is a renowned expert with status and influence.
  • Determine what you are asking for in the grant. Do you approach it as a payment for your time or your trip to South Africa? Do you plan to visit the most distinguished libraries in Europe, and if yes, what for? Reviewers are experienced in detecting applicants who have no specific plan. These are always rejected.
  • Write only what you are asked to write. You can be tempted to include all the information you have in the final version of the proposal. But grantors usually provide detailed instruction on what proposals should and should not include. Always follow their guidelines.
  • Never shy away from asking questions. If something is unclear, you can always request explanations from the granting entity. This will show your interest and initiative.
  • Ask non-specialists to read your proposal. The paper should be clear to anyone who reads it. Be sure to ask people outside your field to review your paper as well.
  • If you fail, try again. You can apply again to the same grantor you’ve already applied to. You can resend your proposal when the grant is open the following year. Always learn from your mistakes and correct whatever needs improvement.

In this section, we’ve collected the 5 most common mistakes made even by experienced researchers when applying for grants.

The picture contains 5 mistakes made by researchers when applying for grants.

  • Soaring ambitions. Critically evaluate what you can manage within the stated timeframe and budget. It is almost impossible to suggest an innovation that will impact all of humanity in several months.
  • High-browed explanations. Yes, the revision committee consists of professionals in their fields, but they may not specialize in your sphere of interest. Thus, they might misunderstand some of your reasoning. Imagine you are explaining the significance of your project to your grandmother. Make your speech formal, add essential details, and write the same thing in the proposal.
  • Inadequacy of the research to your academic level. Are you competent enough?No, we’re not questioning your abilities, but the granting board will. The issues you mention in your proposal should match your academic level. Besides, nobody will prevent you from continuing your research on more complicated issues when you get your Ph.D.
  • Lack of experts in your team. Does your team have all the required experts? Quantitative research presupposes that one of the members of your team has sufficient knowledge of statistics. If you plan fieldwork at hospitals, you will need a clinical trialist . If no one on your team has the skills required for the project, it may be necessary to hire such a person. Don’t forget to add their salary to the budget.
  • No plan B. A good research proposal shows the reviewers that you have a plan B (and, sometimes, even plan C). Show them that you are aware of probable pitfalls and negative scenarios and that you know how to handle them.

🌐 Where to Search for Funding? A List of 39 Sources

We know it’s quite daunting and stressful to look for ways to resolve financial issues surrounding your research project.

The list below comprises 39 potential grantors, categorized by disciplines. All the grants are current as of 2023.

We hope this list will save you time and effort that you can dedicate to more creative things.


This category lists funding organizations and databases of grants that cover a wide range of disciplines. Note that some of the resources here are available only through a paid subscription.


This free database lists all the currently available or forecasted grants from 26 institutions of the US government. They comprise the Environmental Protection Agency, USAID, National Science Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services, and many other agencies.

In other words, the website provides access to the most prominent public funders of research in all disciplines.

The website has a mobile app , which is very convenient to check for new grant openings.

2. CRDF Global

CDRF Global aims to support global entrepreneurship and civilian-oriented research. The non-profit organization is eager to fund projects to make our world more “healthy, safe, and sustainable.”

In particular, it is interested in the research of nuclear, chemical, and biological security, technological innovations, public health, and adjacent disciplines.

However, they do not fund unsolicited proposals, projects related to children (up to secondary-school age), or fundraising initiatives. No subscription is required.

3. FDO (Foundation Directory Online)

Only 10% of US foundations have websites. Where can you find information about the funding opportunities for the remaining 90%?

The Foundation Directory online hosts data from all 239,000 foundations in the United States.

Access to the database is available by paid subscription . Its search results include the number of grants and the funded amount according to the search criteria.

4. NSF (National Science Foundation)

The NSF database provides free access to current funding opportunities. This independent federal agency funds 20% of all federally supported research conducted in American educational institutions.

Here you can look for grants related to engineering, math, physics, biology, geosciences, economy, sociology, and human resource development.

When this article was created, the NSF contained 609 funding opportunities .

5. GRC (Grant Resource Center)

GRC is a subsection of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Access to its database requires a paid institutional membership , meaning that only institutions can apply for grants listed here.

This could work for you if your project involves a group of peers and is supervised by your university staff. Approximately 1,500 private and federal grants are always listed there.

6. GrantForward

This service used to be hosted by the University of Illinois , but now it has moved to an independent website. The access is paid , but you can check out their 30-day trial version.

The resource is more user-friendly than an average funding database. You can create your profile as a researcher, save your previous search results, or listen to webinars and tutorials.

GrantForward has a separate section of grants dedicated to COVID-19 research.

7. Tinker Foundation

The Tinker Foundation supports research of all academic disciplines.

In order to apply, you must be studying for a Master’s or Ph.D. degree at a university in the United States.

In addition, the organization only funds field research in Latin America , specifically Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. You’ll have a chance to use the grant money to cover field-related expenses and travel costs.

8. Fulbright

Fulbright offers four field-specific awards: the arts; business; journalism and communication; and STEM and public health.

Eligible students should study or carry out research projects at foreign universities in the 140 listed countries .

The requirements vary by country. In general, the application process for a Fulbright scholarship is rather complicated. It is better to consult a Fulbright Program Adviser at your university.

9. IFS Program

This non-commercial organization offers funds to scholars from developing countries .

It gives grants to individual researchers who focus on the relevant or innovative spheres of local or national development.

Donors and collaborating organizations finance the program. This means that the eligibility criteria are grant-specific.

10. GrantWatch

GrantWatch is a multidisciplinary search base available by subscription. It features national and international scholarships for college students of the arts, journalism, science, history, and other disciplines.

The resource also has grant openings for senior citizens, refugees, immigrants, veterans, and out-of-school youth. You can check if the website meets your needs through the trial version.

Biology & Medicine

If you study biology or medicine, you will surely find a funding source in one of the ten resources below. Some of the websites listed here provide grants to specific subject areas, while others fund more general research.

11. NIH Grants

NIH is looking for research proposals of high scientific caliber in the sphere of public health . It frequently identifies priority areas and announces funding opportunities and requests for applications.

Note that the organization welcomes unsolicited proposals that fall within its targeted announcements as well. And if another organization funds your project, NIH will support it as well.

12. AACR Research Funding

Since 1993, AACR has funded the research of more than 890 scientists with $480 million .

It cooperates with over 70 partners to fund domestic and foreign researchers at any career stage to detect, prevent, and cure cancer.

Your institution will receive the grant money in installments. AACR can approve significant changes in your project’s budget during the course of its performance.

13. AHA Research Programs

AHA stands for American Heart Association . It is the largest research funder in the sphere of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases after the US government. All academic and health professionals are eligible for AHA awards.

The possible disciplines comprise biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, technology, engineering, and many others.

The organization offers funds to young and established professionals. They also provide some opportunities to undergraduate students who are considering research careers.

14. NCI Grants

NCI is an NIH subdivision that supports cancer investigation . It also funds research on COVID-19, translations of promising research areas, biostatistics, nanotechnology, and other special initiatives.

There are always open project announcements on cancer-specific research problems.

The eligibility criteria are broad, comprising all underrepresented groups of people, ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

15. MDA Grants

Muscular Dystrophy Association provides grants to advance science and generate new ideas for potential drug therapy.

Twice a year, its advisory committee looks through the projects initiated by neuromuscular researchers. It selects the best applications and approves their funding.

MDA is dedicated to finding cures for ALS , muscular dystrophy , and other muscle-debilitating diseases.

16. IDSA Foundation

The Infectious Diseases Society of America promotes excellence in education, patient care, public health, and prevention with respect to infectious diseases . It offers many awards to healthcare professionals.

Some of the grants support clinical teachers of medical students. There is also an award given in recognition of an outstanding discovery in the sphere of infectious diseases.

17. ATA Association

American Thyroid Association strives to find more efficient ways to diagnose and treat thyroid diseases . Since its establishment, ATA has funded 105 research grants for $2.8 million .

Both US and international scholars are invited to apply. New calls for applications are opened once a year.

For this reason, if your research is related to thyroid diseases, you should check this website for updates.

18. Alzheimer’s Association

As is clear from its name, this group supports Alzheimer’s research. Since its creation in 1982, it has invested over $250 million in 750 projects in 39 countries.

The grants are given to scholars of all professional levels, including young scientists.

19. Pfizer GMG

Pfizer supports global independent initiatives aiming to improve patient outcomes in areas with unmet medical needs (i.e., insufficient or limited treatment facilities and medication).

There is a grant for continuing medical education at accredited or non-accredited initiatives. It also supports independent efforts in teaching, research, and quality improvement related to COVID-19 prevention measures.

20. HFSP Funding

The Human Frontier Science Program provides funds for innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to fundamental biological problems.

Scientists from disciplines outside the life sciences (chemistry, biophysics, engineering, computer science, physics, etc.) are highly welcome to apply.

To be eligible, you should belong to a team of scholars who want to collaborate in resolving problems that cannot be tackled in individual laboratories. There are no limitations for the country of residence .

21. AAID Foundation

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry offers grant funding for innovative projects in implant dentistry practice.

All post-graduate dental students and investigators can apply for grants up to $2,500.

The awards are given once a year. Besides, the AAID Foundation provides the additional $500 for travel expenses to AAID Annual Conference to all the award winners.

Science & Technology

The six resources below mainly offer grants for innovations and research in the sphere of technology. Still, if you are a scholar of natural sciences, you can also find some funding opportunities here.

22. AWS Grants

Amazon Web Services provide funding for research in the fields of cloud storage and open data. Students, scholars, and other groups of researchers are welcome to apply for their grants. Note that existing and established research projects are of less interest to AWS.

Only scholars from officially accredited institutions can apply.

You will have to explain how your innovation can be combined with the AWS functionality.

23. UKRI Opportunities

To be eligible, you should be a UK citizen or a foreign scholar cooperating with a UK citizen in your research.

The website has convenient search options by the opening and closing date. A separate section is dedicated to COVID-19 research. Most grants and fellowships are designed to support technological innovations, but some are dedicated to languages and humanities.

24. Charles Koch Foundation

In partnership with social entrepreneurs, the foundation supports research initiatives across various disciplines. Their mission is to eliminate the barriers that prevent people from realizing their highest potential.

Charles Koch Foundation funds the projects carried out by students, non-profit leaders, or administrators.

Although they accept proposals for a select number of issues, any researchers aspiring for social change can apply for funding.

25. STMD (Space Tech Research Grants)

This organization supports the development of space technologies for the needs of NASA and other government and commercial agencies. We recommend all interested students explore its graduate research opportunities .

Master’s and doctoral students can apply for the awards, provided that they pursue their degrees at accredited US universities.

Grant winners will be matched with NASA Subject Matter Experts as their research collaborators.

26. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The foundation gives grants to education and research in technology , engineering , economics , and mathematics . If you want to apply for a grant as an individual, you should be a member of their Books program .

Awards in creative and performing arts are also possible, but only when they educate the public about technology, science, or economics.

27. The Geological Society of America

This global professional society unites more than 20,000 earth science researchers in over 100 countries. It provides research grants to graduate and undergraduate students.

You can also apply for travel grants to attend national and international geological conferences. There is a broad choice of specialized awards for undergraduate students.

Education research is a multidisciplinary field that requires the involvement of many other specialists (statisticians, psychologists, sociologists, etc.). The four organizations below support such initiatives.

28. IES Funding Opportunities

The Institute of Education Sciences is the research, evaluation, and statistics subdivision of the US Department of Education .

Its principal interest lies in the study of educational technologies.

Note that you should submit all grant applications through the federal grants website . Successful application requires registration in various government systems which may take up to several weeks.

The American Educational Research Association offers research grants of up to $35,000 for up to 2 years. The prize money can be used for research-related expenses, computer equipment, travel expenses for scholarly conferences, etc.

The awards are intended for doctoral-level researchers in STEM, educational development, contextual factors in education, and other specific aspects.

Applicants should be US citizens or permanent residents, but non-US citizens affiliated with a US university may also apply.

30. Spencer Foundation

The philosophy of this organization dictates that researchers know which issues require additional investigation. For this reason, Spencer Foundation never announces specific requests for research proposals.

Its area of interest lies within policy-making and educational discourse . The agency provides funding to scholars who want to organize small research conferences or symposia, among other grants.

31. William T. Grant Foundation

The website contains a small grant database in the field of education research and development of young people. You can browse the award opportunities by keywords.

Currently, they mostly fund programs that reduce inequalities in youth outcomes . The foundation is also interested in projects investigating how practitioners and policymakers acquire and interpret research evidence.

Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities

Below you can find eight funding organizations that specialize in humanities, arts, and social sciences. If these do not suffice, check Fulbright (No. 8), GrantWatch (No. 10), and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (No. 26), as they also have some options for these disciplines.

32. NEH Funding Opportunities

The National Endowment for the Humanities offers a variety of funding opportunities to individuals and organizations to promote the humanities.

The agency also features many unique grants for book publishing, scholarly translations, academic editions, documenting endangered languages, etc.

Digital humanities are one of their central areas of interest.

33. APSA Grants

The American Political Science Association offers grants, scholarships, and other types of funding to support research in political science. The organization has existed since 1903 and comprises over 11,000 members in 100 countries.

Projects that intend to deepen the scholarly understanding of democracy, politics, and citizenship worldwide are welcome to apply.

APSA also hosts grant openings published by outside organizations.

34. APF Grants

The American Psychological Foundation is a grant-making agency that supports graduate students and young psychology professionals at the beginning of their careers.

The fund offers grants in specific research areas: preventing violence, stigma, and prejudice; child psychology; applied psychology for vulnerable groups of people; mental illnesses; and reproductive behavior.

The grant money ranges from $300 for travel expenses to $25,000 for fellowships.

35. SPSSI Awards

The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues funds graduates and scholars in their research in the social sciences . The grant requirements are rather broad.

If you are a scholar of any social science, you will probably find a couple of calls for applications that should apply to your project. The organization does not offer any scholarships or tuition support.

36. ASH Foundation

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation provides graduate and post-graduate student grants. The amount ranges from $2,000 to $75,000 , depending on the studied issues and program duration. Doctoral students are eligible for most openings.

Scholars and clinicians are expected to transform the field of communication sciences, “spark innovations,” and improve human lives.

37. UFVA Student Grants

The University of Film and Video Association calls for grant applications from graduate and undergraduate students.

It aims to help those who study media, film, and related fields.

Only already-enrolled students are eligible. The participants should demonstrate exceptional creative and technical ability, high academic achievements, and some filmmaking experience. About $11,000 is awarded annually to students of member institutions.

38. RSF Research

The Russel Sage Foundation supports research projects in the theory, methods, and data of social sciences . Before applying, you should send them a letter of inquiry . If you are among the 15% of all participants that are approved, they will evaluate your idea and request your research proposal.

The RSF expects you to describe the pre-tested survey instruments, research design, and preliminary data analyses in the letter of inquiry.

39. E.C. Harwood Research Fellowships

The American Institute for Economic Research offers paid economic fellowship to post-graduate and doctoral students.

The fields of interest comprise economics, political science, law, philosophy, and history, but other disciplines are also considered.

The fellowship covers a $250/week living stipend and travel costs (if the stay lasts over ten weeks). You can apply to stay and conduct research at the campus in Great Barrington, MA , for 2 to 12 weeks.

We hope that you have found the answers to all your questions in this guide about how to get funding for your research projects. The list of the research funding sources is very thorough, and you are sure to find an agency that will be interested in your proposal. You are welcome to share your experiences in applying for grants below. And your know-how on how to win an award will be highly appreciated in the comments.

🔗 References

  • Applying for Grants | Community Tool Box
  • How to Get Going on a Grant Application – dummies
  • Planning and Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics
  • Secrets to writing a winning grant – Nature
  • Grant Proposals (or Give me the money!) – UNC Writing Center
  • Writing a Research Proposal – Organizing Your Social Sciences
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PCORI’s Research Project Agenda includes a set of Topic Themes that inform focused funding opportunities for patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) over a series of funding cycles. In addition, PCORI issues regular calls for broad proposals from the CER community through the Broad Pragmatic Studies, Phased Large Awards for Comparative Effectiveness Research (PLACER), or other PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs), for any topic that advances progress on PCORI's National Priorities for Health . 

funding research topics

The current Research Project Agenda includes a set of broad Topic Themes, approved by PCORI’s Board of Governors in July 2022, as well as ongoing topics—preventing maternal morbidity and mortality, improving outcomes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD), addressing COVID-19, and addressing rare disease. The broad Topic Themes speak to health issues facing large numbers of people in the United States including children, youth, and older adults and address urgent topics such as violence and trauma, substance use, and mental and behavioral health, as well as widespread conditions including cardiovascular disease, pain management, and sleep health. 

The Topic Themes within the Research Project Agenda were identified from a variety of inputs, including PCORI’s authorizing law and the wealth of public input received from a broad spectrum of stakeholders during PCORI’s strategic planning effort completed in June 2022. The themes include many challenges ripe for patient-centered CER and span from research topics on chronic conditions to emerging needs.

The themes are intentionally broad and intersectional, and on-going stakeholder engagement drives further refinement of the themes over time. Applicants may continue to propose projects that do not directly align with the themes as long as they meet our core mission of patient-engaged and patient-centered CER and advance PCORI's National Priorities for Health .

The examples below illustrate opportunities for CER that could fall under each Topic Theme. They are intended to serve as springboards for applicant idea generation.

funding research topics


Improving outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (idd).

Example opportunities for CER include:

  • Approaches to treatment of co-occurring chronic physical health conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal conditions)
  • Interventions to support caregivers of children and youth with IDD
  • Models of care to support transitions toward increased independence (e.g., models of supported living, employment)
  • Treatments to improve mental health outcomes for IDD
  • Treatment of sleep disorders in individuals with IDD

Promoting health for older adults

  • Approaches to screen, diagnose, treat, or manage dementia
  • Approaches to screen, treat, or manage eye conditions associated with visual impairment
  • Care models to facilitate coordination between primary and specialty care and community resources for older adults with multiple chronic conditions
  • Interventions to address loneliness and social isolation
  • Interventions to support caregivers of individuals with dementia and other serious illnesses
  • Prevention and management of urinary incontinence

Promoting healthy children and youth

  • Approaches to improve mental health care and crisis prevention for children and youth
  • Approaches to support healthy weight management
  • Interventions to improve physical and mental health outcomes for youth with IDD
  • Interventions to support caregivers of children and youth with chronic illness
  • Interventions to support vaccine confidence and uptake
  • Models of care for children transitioning to adult care with complex medical conditions, including rare diseases

funding research topics

Health Behaviors

Addressing substance use.

  • Approaches to address barriers to effective treatments for substance use
  • Prevention, identification, and treatment of substance use, including nicotine, in youth
  • Strategies to prevent overdose in at-risk populations
  • Treatment of coexisting substance use and mental health conditions
  • Treatment of substance use in adults across the aging continuum

Addressing violence and trauma

  • Community-based interventions to address existing structural and/or social determinants of health to prevent violence
  • Interventions to improve quality of life and access to care for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Models of trauma-informed care to optimize health outcomes
  • Systems-based approaches to identify and support individuals experiencing interpersonal violence, such as intimate partner violence, child abuse, or elder abuse

funding research topics

Health Conditions

Addressing covid-19.

  • Management strategies and models of care for individuals with long COVID
  • Strategies to increase primary and booster vaccination rates among populations with low uptake of vaccination
  • System or community-based interventions to prevent transmission and acquisition of COVID-19
  • Treatment strategies for acute COVID-19 infection (e.g., antivirals, thromboprophylaxis)

Addressing rare diseases

  • Approaches to improve primary care for individuals with rare disease unable to access care in specialty centers
  • Approaches to symptom management for individuals with rare disease
  • Approaches for timely diagnosis of rare diseases
  • Integrated multidisciplinary models of care for management of rare diseases
  • Models of care for children with rare disease transitioning to adult care

Improving cardiovascular health

  • Approaches to improve access and adherence to prevention treatments for individuals with cardiovascular disease
  • Prevention and treatment of hypertension during pregnancy and postpartum
  • Prevention strategies, risk factor reduction, and treatment approaches for cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerotic disease, arrythmias, and heart failure
  • Treatment and management strategies for primary hypertension in children, adolescents, and younger adults

Improving mental and behavioral health

  • Approaches to addressing maternal mental health during pregnancy and in the postpartum period
  • Approaches to improve mental health care and crisis prevention
  • Systems-level interventions to address mental health and burnout in people who work in health care
  • Treatments to improve mental health outcomes for individuals with IDD

Managing pain

  • Approaches to address systemic and structural barriers to equitable access to effective pain management
  • Approaches to managing pain and other symptoms in chronic or advanced illness
  • Approaches to pain management in community-dwelling older adults
  • Prevention and treatment of chronic pain conditions such as migraine
  • Treatment interventions for acute pain

Preventing maternal morbidity and mortality (MMM)

  • Community-based interventions to address existing structural and/or social determinants of health to improve maternal outcomes
  • Health system strategies for the incorporation of and partnership with a broad maternal health care workforce including midwives, doulas and community health workers
  • System- or state-level interventions to address MMM

Promoting sleep health

  • Approaches to leveraging technology (e.g., "wearables") for management of sleep disorders
  • Approaches to screen, treat, and deliver interventions for insomnia in high-need and/or medically underserved populations
  • Approaches to screen, treat, and increase adherence to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea
  • Combination and sequential treatment strategies for insomnia
  • Treatment of sleep disorders in individuals with IDD and other understudied populations

View All PCORI Funding Opportunities

Posted: December 9, 2022; Updated: April 7, 2023

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Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC)

Table Published: May  14, 2024

The table below displays the annual support level for various research, condition, and disease categories based on grants, contracts, and other funding mechanisms used across the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as disease burden data published by the  National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)  at the  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

At the request of Congress, the NIH embarked on a process to provide better consistency and transparency in the reporting of its funded research. This new process, implemented in 2008 through the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) system, uses sophisticated text data mining (categorizing and clustering using words and multiword phrases) in conjunction with NIH-wide definitions used to match projects to categories. RCDC use of data mining improves consistency and eliminates the wide variability in defining the research categories reported. The definitions are a list of terms and concepts selected by NIH scientific experts to define a research category. The research category levels represent the NIH's best estimates based on the category definitions. These definitions include all aspects of the topic, such as basic, pre-clinical, clinical, biomedical, health services, behavioral, and social research.

In 2016, the NIH added mortality and prevalence data from two sources of consistent and nationally representative disease statistics provided by NCHS/CDC. These data are reported alongside the budgeting categories to provide the public and policymakers with information that is helpful for understanding the NIH research portfolio and its relationship to public health needs. However, NIH believes that the best way to understand disease burdens is by examining patterns in the larger context of multiple methods and measurements, chosen on a case-by-case basis as appropriate for each disease or condition. Further descriptions of these disease statistics can be found  here .

The NIH does not expressly budget by category. The annual estimates reflect amounts that change because of science, actual research projects funded, and the NIH budget. The research categories are not mutually exclusive. Individual research projects can be included in multiple categories so amounts depicted within each column of this table do not add up to 100 percent of NIH-funded research.

The table shows historical data for FY 2008 through FY 2023. Estimates for FY 2024 and FY 2025 are based on RCDC actual data and are usually posted when the President’s Budget is released.

Total Number of Research/Disease Areas: 324  

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Project Areas by Topic

From the FDA Office of Women's Health

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On this page: Searchable table | Related links  

The FDA Office of Women’s Health (OWH) awards research grants for studies to support FDA regulatory decision-making, to evaluate the impact of sex differences on product safety and efficacy, and to advance the science of women’s health. 

The research conducted by OWH-funded investigators helps inform safety, efficacy, quality, and performance of the products FDA regulates. Research conducted by FDA scientists and external investigators also contributes to advances in science and technology in general and promotes innovation in medical product development and food and cosmetic safety.

OWH has funded research projects that address health topics affecting women including cardiovascular disease, bioinformatics, cancer, device safety, pregnancy/reproductive health, sex differences, and women in clinical trials.

Intramural, Extramural, and Special Funding Research Initiatives by Funding Year, and Research Area

Year Program PI Center/Organization Project Title Research Areas
2024 Intramural CAMACHO, LUISA NCTR Systematic evaluation of reconstructed human skin models to predict the percutaneous absorption of cosmetic ingredients and other FDA-regulated products Cosmetics, Dermatology
2024 Intramural WILLETT, ROSE NCTR Sex-comparative cancer modeling: Determining the sex differences in lorcaserin-induced non-genotoxic mechanisms associated with increased female lung cancer prevalence Oncology/cancer, Biomarkers
2024 Intramural YU, LI-RONG NCTR Informed prediction of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity (IMPACT): A multicenter biomarker qualification study Oncology/cancer, Toxicology, Biomarkers
2024 Intramural GUO, WENJING NCTR Identify sex disparities in opioid drug safety signals in FDA adverse events report system (FAERS) and social media Twitter to improve women's health Pharmaceuticals, Opioids
2024 Intramural FAIRMAN, KIARA NCTR Pregnancy Pharmacokinetic Database Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology
2024 Intramural MAZOR, RONIT CBER Investigation of sex difference in immunogenicity and efficacy of AAV mediated gene therapy Immunology, Gene therapy
2023 Intramural AYYOUB, AMAL CDER Evaluation of the Impact of Dose Interruptions and Reductions on the Clinical Efficacy of Targeted Breast Cancer Drugs Oncology/cancer, Pharmacology 
2023 Intramural WU, WEN JIN CDER Identify therapeutic biomarkers, characterize bispecific antibodies (BsAbs) to treat ovarian cancer (OC), and support the reviews of FDA-regulated BsAbs Oncology/cancer, Biologics
2023 Intramural PINTO, CAROLINE CDRH Application of in vitro and in silico models to predict the total estrogenicity of chemicals released from cardiovascular medical devices Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2023 Intramural SAMALA, RAVI CDRH Tackling sex bias in AI for severity assessment of COVID-19 Infectious diseases, Medical device, Artificial Intelligence
2023 Intramural CAI, CHENGZHONG NCTR Potential Context of Use for a Human-Based Engineered Heart Tissue System to Detect Sex Disparities of Chemotherapy Drugs  (Special Funding) Oncology/cancer, Pharmaceuticals
2023 Intramural CHEN, MINJUN NCTR Identify genetic and nongenetic factors with increasing susceptibility to herbal dietary supplement (HDS)-induced liver injury in women Dietary supplements, Pharmacogenomics, Toxicology
2023 Intramural LI, DONGYING NCTR Sex-biased safety profiles in IND submissions and its manifestation in NDA approval and post-marketing surveillance  Pharmaceuticals
2022 Intramural XIE, HANG CBER Infectious diseases
2022 Extramural (CERSI) SON, MOEUN Yale-Mayo Evaluate the application of machine learning algorithms to the management of postpartum hemorrhage Obstetrics/Gynecology, Cardiovascular
2022 Extramural (CERSI) SHAH, SAMIT Yale-Mayo Improving the Diagnosis and Treatment of Women with Myocardial Ischemia and No Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease Cardiovascular
2022 Extramural (CERSI) STINCHCOMB, AUDRA University of Maryland Evaluating Quality Performance of Extemporaneously Compounded Estrogen Hormone Products Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology, Pharmaceuticals
2021 Intramural KAMAL, NAHID CDER Affordable generics for menopausal women: Mechanistic evaluation of forumulation design and performance of estradiol intravaginal ring products Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2021 Intramural TOLNAY, MATE CDER Define a biomarker of decidual inflammation to predict recurrent pregnancy loss Obstetrics/Gynecology, Immunology, Biomarkers   
2021 Intramural ZIDAN, AHMED CDER Developing quality standards for an innovative personalized 3D printed intravaginal ring for menopausal women Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2021 Extramural (CERSI) IWASAKI, AKIKO Yale-Mayo Sex differences in immune profiles of PASC before and after vaccination  Infectious diseases, Immunology
2021 Intramural BIGHAMIAN, RAMIN CDRH Next generation sex-specific ventilator systems enabled by neural activity Pulmonary, Medical device
2021 Extramural (CERSI) KLEIN, SABRA Johns Hopkins Defining SARS-CoV2 vaccine-induced immunity in pregnant and lactating people Infectious diseases, Immunology, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2021 Intramural CHANDRASEKAR, VAISHNAVI CDRH Effect Of Sex Differences on the Drug Absorption, Biological Responses and Adverse Events Elicited by Paclitaxel Containing Medical Devices Cardiovascular, Medical device
2021 Intramural GALLAS, BRANDON CDRH Dataset to validate digital-pathology algorithms that quantify tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in breast cancer Oncology/cancer, Diagnostics, Artificial Intelligence
2021 Intramural SAHINER, BERKMAN CDRH Prediction of response to therapy for advanced/metastatic breast cancer: Joint analysis of radiologic and genomic data using machine learning Oncology/cancer, Artificial Intelligence
2021 Extramural (CERSI) VASHISHT, ROHIT UCSF-Stanford Learning Real-World Sex-Specific Clinical Factors Influencing the Susceptibility to Infection, Immune Response, Treatment Utilization and Outcomes Among Individuals Infected with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Infectious diseases
2021 Intramural SHIN, HAINSWORTH CDRH Identifying the cellular impact of surface textures in relation to breast implant associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2021 Intramural YU, LI-RONG NCTR Verification of novel predictive biomarkers of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxcity in breast cancer patients Oncology/cancer, Toxicology
2020 Intramural DEVADAS, KRISHNAKUMAR CBER Impact of sex-based differences in the expression of host non-coding RNA biomarkers that can diagnose early HIV-1 infection Infectious diseases
2020 Intramural XIE, HANG CBER Identify unique antibody characteristics for prediction of effective influenza vaccination in pregnant and lactating women Infectious diseases, Immunology, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2020 Intramural BENT, ROBYN CDER Qualitative Development of Patient Preference Survey Tool for Contraception Products (Special Funding) Obstetrics/Gynecology
2020 Intramural DINATALE, MIRIAM CDER Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Rule (PLLR): Health Care Provider Testing to Improve Health Communications Related to Lactation Obstetrics/Gynecology, Public Health
2020 Intramural STONE, HEATHER CDER CURE Pregnancy Treatment Repository  Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmaceuticals
2020 Intramural XU, XIAOMING CDER An innovative alternative approach for assessing drug release from levonorgestrel intrauterine systems (IUSs) for supporting bioequivalence: in vitro drug release model in combination with advanced morphological characterization with micro-imaging (Special Funding) Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2020 Extramural (CERSI) LADD-ACOSTA, CHRISTINE Johns Hopkins Assessing real-world use of pharmaceuticals among pregnant women Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmaceuticals
2020 Intramural ELESPURU, ROSALIE CDRH Development of an integrated database for gender-based toxicological assessments (Special Funding) Toxicology, Medical device
2020 Intramural WEIJIE, CHEN CDRH Predicting the response to hormonal treatment of women with atypical endometrial hyperplasia using artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms Oncology/cancer, Biomarkers, Artificial Intelligence
2020 Extramural (BAA) TAO, ZHANG Husson University Predicting the transfer of breast cancer resistant milk using IN VITRO to IN VIVO Extrapolation (IVIVE) Oncology/cancer, Pharmaceuticals
2020 Intramural CUEVAS-MARTINEZ, ELVIS-YANE NCTR Sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease associated with blood-brain barrier and immunological responses: Basis for emerging technologies for discovery of potential biomarkers and new therapies in women Neurology, Biomarkers
2020 Intramural FAHMI, TARIQ NCTR Determination of Sex Differences in Immune Responses to Nanoparticles Immunology, Toxicology
2020 Intramural MEI, NAN NCTR Mechanistic evaluation of genotoxic potential of black cohosh, a dietary supplement widely marketed for relief of gynecologic disorders and menopausal symptoms Obstetrics/Gynecology, Toxicology, Dietary supplements
2019 Intramural CRAVEN, BRENT CDRH Evaluating inferior vena cava filter performance in women using patient-specific computational modeling Cardiovascular, Medical device
2019 Intramural GARCIA, MONICA CDRH Computational models to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of vaginal heating devices Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2019 Intramural DU, DONGYI (TONY) CDRH Evaluating the clinical comparibility of US vs. non-US clinical trial data for FDA-regulated medical devices for obesity treatment (co-funding with OMH) Endocrine/Metabolic, Medical device
2019 Intramural FAIRMAN, KIARA NCTR Development of an artificially intelligent virtual pregnant woman modeling suite to support regulatory decisions Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology, Artificial Intelligence
2019 Extramural (CERSI) FLYNN, EMILY UCSF-Stanford Comprehensive Assessment of Sex-Differential Smoking-related Effects in Publicly Available Gene Expression Data Pulmonary, Gene expression
2019 Extramural (CERSI)



Methods to capture post-market patient preference information Medical device
2019 Intramural LYN-COOK, BEVERLY NCTR Validation of Nuclear, Cytoplasmic and Cell Surface Receptors Expression in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Subtypes Treated with Vorinostat (Special Funding) Oncology/cancer, Biomarkers
2019 Extramural (BAA) MULLINS, DANIELS University of Maryland Health Communications Public Health, Pharmaceuticals, Biologics
2019 Intramural PETRICK, NICHOLAS  CDRH Digital and 3D printed methods for quantitative CT-based bone texture and microarchitecture analysis for fracture risk (Special Funding) Musculoskeletal
2019 Intramural TARTERA, CARMEN CFSAN Evaluation of women's targeted dietary supplements for labeling complicance and potential contamination, containing live microbes in the US market with special emphasis on pregnant and lactating women, and infants Dietary supplements, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Metagenomics
2019 Intramural TONG, WEIDA NCTR Develop a Database of Herbal/ Dietary Supplements (HDS) Hepatotoxicity to Support the Agency’s New Efforts to Strengthen Regulation of HDS Products (extension of FY16 project) (Special Funding) Hepatic, Dietary supplements
2019 Extramural (BAA) WebMD WebMD Survey- Lupus Patient Perspective on Clinical Trials Autoimmune, Clinical Trials
2019 Extramural (BAA) WebMD WebMD Survey- Lupus Prescriber Referral Bias Autoimmune, Clinical Trials
2019 Extramural (BAA) WebMD WebMD Survey-Women's Health Special Populations Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmaceuticals
2019 Extramural (BAA) WU, JOSEPH UCSF-Stanford Identifying genetic mechanisms of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxcity Oncology/cancer, Toxicology
2019 Intramural WU, WEN JIN CDER Develop novel bispecific antibodies to improve the safety and efficacy of FDA-regulated products for the treatment of triple negative breast cancers (Special Funding) Oncology/cancer, Biologics
2019 Intramural YU, LI-RONG  NCTR Verification of Novel Predictive Biomarkers of Doxorubicin-induced Cardiotoxicity in Breast Cancer Patients Oncology/cancer, Toxicology
2019 Intramural ZHUANG, LUNING CDER Application of model-informed approaches to facilicate dose selection for antimalarial drugs in pregnant women to support efficient drug development Infectious disease
2019 Intramural ZIRKELBACH, JEANNE FOURIE CDER Patient reported outcomes (PRO) symptom data to complement traditional exposure-response (ER) analysis to optimize dose selection and dose reduction strategies during adjuvant breast cancer treatment drug development Oncology/cancer, Patient-reported outcomes
2018 Intramural GUERRIERI, GIOIA CDER Plasma biomarkers in perimenopause-onset depression Psychiatry, Biomarkers, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2018 Intramural JU, JING CDER Improving FDA Health Communications with Older Women Regarding FDA-Regulated Products Public Health
2018 Intramural PANG, LI NCTR Sex differences in drug-induced QT prolongation and Torsades de pointes establishing an in vitro model for high-throughput screening and risk assessment of torsadogenic drugs (special funding) Cardiovascular, Gene expression
2018 Intramural RAJAN, SUNDER CDRH Development of a Standardized Protocol for Screening and Detection of ALCL and implant rupture through High Resolution 3D MRI imaging of silicone breast implants QC title - Standardizing the protocol for High-resolution 3D MRI for imaging silicone breast implants for screening and detection of ALCL Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2018 Intramural SAHA, ANINDITA  CDRH Analysis of Sex Specific Differences in Quality of Life Measures for Heart Failure Cardiovascular, Patient-reported outcomes
2018 Intramural SHIN, HAINSWORTH CDRH Identifying the impact of surface-texturing on the differential pathogenesis of Breast Implant Associated- Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2018 Intramural ZUSTERZEEL, ROBBERT CDER Evaluation of the Safety and Effectiveness of Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs) for Atrial Fibrillation in Underrepresented Subgroups in Premarket Clinical Trials Using Combined Clinical and Statistical Modeling Approaches. (special funding) Cardiovascular, Medical device, Pharmaceuticals
2017 Intramural ELEKAWACHI, OLUCHI CBER Evaluation of the extent and impact of gender sensitive advertising and promotional labeling of Health Products (Special Funding) Public health
2017 Intramural FERGUSON, SHERRY NCTR Gender differences related to Alzheimer's disease as revealed by Exome sequencing and RNA Seq (Special Funding) Neurology, Biomarkers, Gene expression
2017 Intramural FUSCOE, JAMES NCTR Evaluation of transcriptomics-based predictions of sex- and age-related susceptibilities to treatment-induced adverse effects in F344 rats (Special Funding) Endocrine/Metabolic, Gene expression, Pharmaceuticals
2017 Intramural JIANG, HELEN CDRH Sex-specific analysis of percutaneous left atrial appendage (LAA) closure device for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation Cardiovascular
2017 Intramural LUMEN, ANNIE NCTR Population-Based computational framework for assessing xenobiotic disposition and interaction effects in pregnant women Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology, Endocrine/Metabolic
2017 Intramural LYN-COOK, BEVERLY NCTR Stimulate innovation in clinical evaluations and personalized medicine to improve patient outcomes with triple negative breast cancer Oncology/cancer
2017 Intramural RAJAN, SUNDER; ANGELONE, LEONARDO CDRH Virtual model of a female human subject with large body habitus for use in MR Radio frequency safety assessments Medical device
2017 Intramural STRAUSS, DAVID CDER Translational regulatory science to advance drug safety in women combining in silico modeling and clinical approaches Cardiovascular
2017 Intramural TOROSYAN, YELIZAVETA CDRH In silico research on sex differences in the biological responses and adverse events elicited by implantable devices/ biomaterials (Special funding) Medical device, Biomarkers
2017 Intramural YU, LI-RONG NCTR Predictive clinical biomarkers for chemotherapy induced cardiotoxicity (Special Funding) Oncology/cancer, Toxicology, Biomarkers
2016 Intramural BUEHLER, PAUL CBER Evaluation of thromboembolic events following C1-inhibitor therapy Rare Diseases, Pharmaceuticals
2016 Intramural DAS, SRILEKHA CDRH Bacteria and virus migration through latex condoms in the presence of personal lubricants Obstetrics/Gynecology, Infectious disease, Medical device
2016 Intramural DU, DONGYI CDRH Sex and racial difference in prosthetic aortic valve selection and risk factors for patient outcome—an observational study of Medicare beneficiaries Cardiovascular, Medical device
2016 Intramural GARRA, BRIAN CDRH Spectral Photoacoustic Tomography (PAT) for Breast Tumor Oximetry: Test Method Development, In Vivo Validation, and Computational Modeling Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2016 Intramural LEE, LAI MING CDER Cardiovascular Risk of Testosterone Treatment in Women Cardiovascular, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2016 Intramural LYN-COOK, BEVERLY NCTR The role of epigenetic mechanisms in re-expression of ER, PR, and HER receptors in triple negative breast cancer: effects of FDA approved epigenetic drugs and dietary agents  Oncology/cancer, Pharmaceuticals
2016 Intramural MYERS, MATTHEW CDRH Development of test methods to evaluate the risk of cancer-cell permeation through tissue containment bags during laparoscopic power morcellation of uterine fibroids Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2016 Intramural NAGARAJA, SRINIDHI BAUMANN, ANDREW CDRH Improving assessment of spinal device subsidence by incorporating female anatomy and density Musculoskeletal, Medical device
2016 Intramural PATRI, ANIL NCTR Evaluating the migration and toxic potential of silver nanoparticles in feminine hygiene products into vaginal tissue: In vivo rodent and human in vitro 3D mucosal models Obstetrics/Gynecology, Toxicology
2016 Intramural PETRICK, NICHOLAS CDRH Calcium and material characterization in women using dual-energy CT: Phase II Cardiovascular, Medical device
2016 Intramural PEZESHK, ARIA CDRH Preservation of relevant clinical information in lossy compressed digital mammograms using objective image quality metrics Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2016 Intramural SADRIEH, NAKISSA CFSAN Non-clinical mechanistic studies in addressing ovarian cancer risk from talc use in cosmetics (Special funding) Oncology/cancer, Cosmetics
2016 Intramural SAHINER, BERKMAN CDRH Mammographic CAD device testing using computationally inserted microcalcification clusters and masses Oncology/cancer, Medical device, Method development & validation
2016 Intramural STRUBLE, EVI CBER Assessment of Placental Transmission of Zika Virus Glycoprotein E Immunogen Obstetrics/Gynecology, Infectious diseases
2016 Intramural TONG, WEIDA NCTR Hepatotoxicity database for herbal/dietary supplements Hepatic, Toxicology, Dietary Supplements
2016 Intramural WAGNER, DOUG NCTR Drug-delivery nanoparticle immunological effects on induction of pro-inflammatory responses to Candida albicans in mice Immunology, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2016 Intramural WEAR, KEITH CDRH Advancing Methods for Assessment and Prediction of Clinical Performance of High Intensity Therapeutic Ultrasound Systems (special funding) Medical device, Method development & validation
2016 Intramural WU, WEN JIN CDER Development of biomarkers for trastuzumab-induced toxicity Oncology/cancer, Toxicology, Biomarkers
2016 Intramural WU, WENDY CDER Optimization of an in silico cardiac cell model for predicting sex differences in drug-induced proarrhythmia risk Cardiovascular
2016 Intramural YU, JINGYU CDER Tool development of modeling and simulations for metastatic breast cancer Oncology/cancer
2015 Intramural CANOS, DANIEL CDRH Sex-specific outcomes with cardiac resynchronization therapy  Cardiovascular, Medical device
2015 Intramural CANOS, DANIEL CDRH Individual patient-data meta-analysis and post-market analysis as a method for improving data quality in demographic subgroups Cardiovascular, Medical device, Clinical Trials
2015 Intramural COBURN, JAMES CDRH Sex-specific modeling and analysis of ACL injury susceptibility Musculoskeletal, Medical device
2015 Intramural LI, XIANG  CBER Bayesian demographic subgroup analyses for pregnant women Obstetrics/Gynecology, Clinical trials
2015 Intramural LIACHENKO, SERGUEI NCTR Gender differences in neuronal reward circuit activation by nicotine and tobacco smoke using magnetic resonance spectroscopy Neurology
2015 Intramural LUMEN, ANNIE NCTR Population-based computational framework for assessing xenobiotic disposition and interaction effects in pregnant women (Supplementary funds) Obstetrics/Gynecology, Endocrine/Metabolic
2015 Intramural MARINAC, DANICA CDRH Capturing Sex-Specific Data in  Regulatory Submissions and National Vascular Quality Initiative Registry  Cardiovascular, Medical device
2015 Intramural MYERS, MEAGAN NCTR Oncomutation profile of triple negative breast cancer: Additional studies in African American women Oncology/cancer, Biomarkers
2015 Intramural NAGARAJA, SRINIDHI CDRH The effects of gender differences in adverse events for integrated fixation spinal implants Muscoloskeletal, Medical device
2015 Intramural OVANESOV, MIKHAIL CBER Effect of procoagulant impurity on coagulation in plasma from pregnant women  Hematologic, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2015 Intramural PANG, LI NCTR A pilot study for evaluating genetic influences on sex differences of drug-induced proarrhythmia Cardiovascular, Pharmaceuticals
2015 Intramural PHILLIPS, KENNETH CDRH Bacterial colonization and biofilm formation in dermal fillers implants: An in vivo model to confirm in vitro findings and pathogenesis leading to adverse events Dermatology, Medical device
2015 Intramural RAO, V ASHUTOSH CDER Addressing the unmet medical needs for cardioprotection in women receiving chemotherapy Oncology/cancer, Toxicology
2015 Intramural RONK, CHRISTOPHER CDRH Inclusion of Minority Racial/Ethnic Subjects in OB-GYN Device Applications and Device Labeling, 2005-2015 (Special Funding) Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2015 Intramural STRAUSS, DAVID CDER Ensuring Accessible Supply of Safe and Effective Drugs: Quantifying Women-Specific Pro-Arrhythmia Risk of Drug Therapies (Special Funding) Cardiovascular, Pharmaceuticals
2015 Intramural STRUBLE, EVI CBER Treating the pregnant patient: pharmacokinetic and mechanistic studies of antiviral IGIV preparations at different stages of gestation in an animal model of pregnancy Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology, Infectious diseases
2015 Intramural WOODS, TERRY CDRH Identifying and characterizing key mechanical characteristics of surgical meshes used for pelvic organ prolapse repair and treatment of stress Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2015 Intramural WOODS, TERRY CDRH Preclinical test methods for percutaneously implanted heart valves - Effect of non-circular valve configuration after implantation on valve leaflet dynamics Cardiovascular, Medical device
2015 Intramural XIE, HANG CBER Modulatory effects of progesterone on maternal immunity and their implications in pregnancy-associated susceptibility to avian influenza infections Infectious diseases, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Immunology
2014 Intramural CHANG, CHING-WEI NCTR Blood pressure threshold for cardiovascular disease risk: an assessment of sex-based criterion Cardiovascular, Diagnostics
2014 Intramural GARRA, BRIAN CDRH Phantom-based evaluation of photoacoustic imaging systems for breast tumor vasculature quantification Oncology/cancer, Medical device, Method development & validation
2014 Intramural GELPERIN, KATE CDER Evaluation and Improvement of Post-Market Pregnancy Registries Obstetrics/Gynecology
2014 Intramural HART, MARK NCTR Evaluation of methods used to measure growth of staphylococcus aureus and the production of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 as influenced by menstrual tampons Infectious diseases, Medical device, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2014 Intramural LI, LI CDER Disease systems analysis: towards a generic framework for characterizing disease progression and treatment effects in osteoporosis Musculoskeletal, Pharmaceuticals
2014 Intramural LI, XIANG (JUDY) CBER Bayesian assessment of safety profiles for pregnant women-From animal study to human clinical trial Obstetrics/Gynecology
2014 Intramural OVANESOV, MIKHAIL CBER Evaluation of pharmacokinetics of thrombogenic impurity following different routes of immune globulin administration during pregnancy Obstetrics/Gynecology, Immunology
2014 Intramural PANG, LI NCTR Sex differences in drug-induced QT prolongation and torsade de pointes: establishing an in vitro model for high-throughput screening and risk assessment of torsadogenic drugs Cardiovascular, Gene expression
2014 Intramural PARISER, ANNE CDER Collection, Analysis, and Availability of Demographic Subgroup Data for FDA-Approved Medical Products (Special Funding) Pharmaceuticals, Biologics
2014 Intramural PETRICK, NICHOLAS CDRH Calcium and material characterization in women using dual-energy computed tomography Cardiovascular, Medical device
2014 Intramural SAHINER, BERKMAN CDRH Simulation of realistic masses on mammograms and digital breast tomosynthesis images for system assessment and CAD development/testing Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2014 Intramural STOCKBRIDGE, NORMAN CDER Novel therapeutic approaches to prevent drug-induced torsade de pointes Cardiovascular, Pharmacology, Pharmaceuticals
2014 Intramural WILSON, PHYLLIS ORA Detection of synthetic drugs as adulterants in natural and herbal slimming products by UPLC-mass spectrometry Dietary supplements, Method development & validation
2014 Intramural WOOD, STEVEN CDRH Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) may exacerbate local and systemic effects of wear particles released from metal-on-metal hip implants: Implications for women Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device, Immunology
2014 Intramural WU, WEN JIN CDER Develop animal and cellular models to investigate the mechanisms of cardiotoxicity induced by trastuzumab, trastuzumab/pertuzumab, and ado-trastuzumab emtansine to support post-marketing surveillance of these antibody-based HER2-targeted therapies, and characterize novel serum biomarker of cardiotoxicity induced by trastuzumab, trastuzumab/pertuzumab, and ado-trastuzumab emtansine Oncology/cancer, Toxicology, Biomarkers
2013 Intramural BROWN, RONALD CDRH Sex differences in biomarkers of kidney injury in patients with metal-on-metal hip implants Renal, Medical device, Biomarkers
2013 Intramural COBURN, JAMES CDER Mechanical causes of higher hip implant failure rates in women Musculoskeletal, Medical device
2013 Intramural GELPERIN, KATE CDER Evaluation and Improvement of Post-Market Pregnancy Registries  Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmaceuticals
2013 Intramural HEWLETT, INDIRA CBER Evaluation of HSV-2 co-infection and hormonal contraceptive use on HIV acquisition and pathogenesis using patient-derived clinical specimens Infectious diseases, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Biomarkers
2013 Extramural (CERSI) INGBER, DONALD Harvard Tissue on a Chip Organ chip models, Oncology/cancer, Pharmaceuticals
2013 Intramural KIM, DO-HYUN CDRH Photo-Thermal Safety in Laser-based Devices for Detection and Treatment of Breast Cancer: Effect of Endogenous Absorbers and Gold Nano-Particles Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2013 Intramural LUMEN, ANNIE NCTR Population-Based Computational Framework for Assessing Xenobiotic Disposition and Interaction Effects in Pregnant Women-Pilot Study Endocrine/Metabolic, Obstetrics/Gynecology
2013 Intramural LYN-COOK, BEVERLY NCTR Clinical and Biological Significance of Three Identified Targets in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patient PBMCs: IL-18, TNFSF13B, and FOXP3 Autoimmune, Biomarkers
2013 Intramural NAGARAJA, SRINIDHI CDRH The Effects of Gender Differences in Revision Rates for Spinal Total Disc Replacement Procedures Musculoskeletal, Medical device
2013 Intramural PHILLIPS, KENNETH CDRH Effect of Injection Techniques, Materials Chemistry and Physical Properties of Dermal Fillers on Potential for Bacterial Colonization and Infection Infectious diseases, Medical device, Cosmetics
2013 Intramural RAJAN, SUNDER CDRH MRI Safety Testing of Breast Tissue Expanders used in Mastectomy Patients Medical device
2013 Intramural STOCKBRIDGE, NORMAN; STRAUSS, DAVID CDRH PK analysis of the samples for a study funded by CDER Critical Pathways titled, “A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled single-dose, five-period crossover study of the electrocardiographic effects of ranolazine, dofetilide, verapamil and quinidine in healthy subjects” Cardiovascular, Pharmacology, Pharmaceuticals
2013 Intramural STRUBLE, EVI CBER Assessing Passive Prophylaxis of Infection at Different Stages during Gestation in a Pregnant Animal Model Immunology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Infectious diseases
2013 Intramural VERTHELYI, DANIELA CDER Use of innate immune response modulators in women: The perfect storm to trigger autoimmune disease? Immunology, Autoimmune
2013 Intramural WAGNER, ROBERT NCTR Nanoparticle Effects on Induction of Pro-inflammatory Responses to Candida albicans by Cultured Vaginal Epithelial Cells Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmaceuticals
2013 Intramural ZHANG, ZHIWEI CDRH Incremental Values of Sequential Procedures for Diagnosing Breast Cancer Oncology/cancer, Medical device, Method development & validation
2012 Intramural ANDERSON-SMITS, COLIN CDRH A Comparative Analysis of Adverse Events Between Conventional Tubal Ligation and Transcervical Occlusive Devices of the Fallopian Tube for Female Sterilization: A Cohort Study Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2012 Intramural ANGELONE, LEONARDO CDRH MRI in pregnant patients: A systematic analysis of Radio-frequency heating with multi-transmit technology Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device
2012 Intramural BADAL-SOLER, ANDREU CDRH Development, validation and dissemination of computational modeling tools to estimate radiation dose and image quality of emerging imaging technologies for the diagnosis and staging of breast cancer Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2012 Intramural BROWN, RONALD CDRH Sex differences in kidney biomarker response following exposure to an orthopedic alloy: Implications for the safety assessment of metal-on-metal hip implants Toxicology, Medical device, Biomarkers
2012 Intramural FANG, LANYAN CDER Sex Disparities in Autoimmune Treatment Response Autoimmune
2012 Intramural GOERING, PETER CDRH Safety and Efficacy of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Used as MRI Contrast Agents for Breast Cancer Imaging Oncology/cancer, Medical device
2012 Intramural LIACHENKO, SERGUEI NCTR Gender differences in neuronal reward circuit activation by nicotine and tobacco smoke using magnetic resonance spectroscopy Neurology
2012 Intramural LUO, ZHONGJUN CFSAN Exploring Potential Safety Issues of PPIs on Osteoporosis in Elderly Women Using the PPI Legacy Database Pharmaceuticals, Musculoskeletal
2012 Intramural MORRISON, TINA CDRH Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms: analysis of patient Characteristics and Anatomy Related to EVAR treatment and outcomes- AAA CARE Cardiovascular, Medical device
2012 Intramural MYERS, MEAGAN NCTR Quantitative oncomutation profile of triple negative breast cancer Oncology/cancer, Gene expression
2012 Intramural NALLANI, SRIKANTH CDER Applications of Clinical Pharmacology Principles in Pharmacotherapy of Diseases in Pregnancy Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology
2012 Intramural OVANESOV, MIKHAIL CBER Improving safety of blood products administered during pregnancy Hematologic, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Immunology
2012 Intramural PAREPALLY, JAGAN MOHAN CDER Gender effect on PK/PD of hypnotic drug: Driving impairment and dosing recommendations Neurology, Pharmacology, Pharmaceuticals
2012 Intramural RAGHEB, JACK CDER A Mechanistic Study of the Capacity of Silicone to Present (Self) Antigens to the Immune System Autoimmune, Medical device
2012 Intramural SHI, QIANG NCTR Identifying drugs that cause women-biased hepatotoxicity by reviewing FDA drug approcal packages/labels and FDA maintained databases and conducting comparitive studies in primary hepatocytes of rats, mice, and humans Hepatic, Pharmaceuticals
2012 Intramural STRAUSS, DAVID CDRH Novel Electrocardiographic Biomarkers to Assess Cardiac Safety of Investigational Drugs Cardiovascular, Biomarkers
2012 Intramural STRAUSS, DAVID CDRH Gender-Specific Predictors of Heart Failure Hospitalization and Death in Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Cardiovascular, Medical device
2012 Intramural WU, WEN JIN CDER Investigating the molecular mechanisms of trastuzumab-induced cardiotoxicity and explore the cardioprotective role of antioxidants in the trastuzumab-mediated cardiac dysfunction Oncology/cancer, Toxicology
2012 Intramural XIE, HANG CBER Development of a mouse model to mimic the response of female and pregnant human subjects to avian influenza infections and to evaluate the protective efficacy of pandemic H5N1 vaccines against highly pathogenic avian influenza Infectious disease, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Immunology
2012 Intramural YELLELA, SRI RAMA KRISHNAIAH CDER Quantification of drug retained in the skin after removal of estradiol transdermal drug delivery systems used in hormone replacement therapy Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medical device, Pharmaceuticals, Dermatology
2012 Intramural YU, CHONGWOO CDER Investigation of Drug-Drug Interactions with Hormonal Contraceptives Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pharmacology

Related links

  • About OWH research
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U.S. Government Accountability Office

Federal Research and Development: Funding Has Grown since 2012 and Is Concentrated within a Few Agencies

Innovation is critical to U.S. competitiveness, prosperity, and security. In the last 10 years, the federal government has increased funding for research and development (R&D)—investing $179.5 billion in FY 2021.

DOD and the Department of Health and Human Services received 77% of the FY 2021 funding. COVID-19 stimulus funding led to large R&D increases for HHS. For example, an HHS agency that helps develop vaccines saw increased spending from $736 million in FY 2019 to $16 billion in FY 2020.

Some funding supports multi-agency initiatives in complex areas of strategic national importance—such as nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Federal Research and Development Investments, FYs 2012-2021

An image of a graph reflecting federal research and development investments from 2012 to 2021

What GAO Found

Federal research and development (R&D) funding has increased since 2012—most recently because of COVID-19 stimulus funding. Five agencies obligated the majority of federal R&D funding with the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) accounting for nearly 80 percent in fiscal year 2021 (see figure). HHS has mainly funded research, while DOD mainly funds development. However, HHS has become a major funder of development in recent years because of COVID-19 stimulus funding. HHS averaged less than 1 percent in development funding through fiscal year 2019 but reported 37 percent of its R&D obligations were for development in fiscal year 2021. Of the estimated $179.5 billion in federal R&D obligations in fiscal year 2021, about two-thirds went to organizations outside the federal government. In fiscal year 2021, industry, universities, and colleges received the majority of these external R&D obligations—almost $90 billion.

Federal Research and Development Obligations, Fiscal Year 2021

Federal Research and Development Obligations, Fiscal Year 2021

Note: FY 2021 data are estimates provided by federal agencies to the National Science Foundation.

Federal funding also includes four multi-agency initiatives in areas identified as having long-term national importance, such as quantum information science and nanotechnology. These initiatives coordinate activities in areas that are too broad or complex to be addressed by one agency alone. For example, more than 60 agencies participate in an initiative on network and information technology, which includes investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Not all participating agencies contribute funding to such initiatives. Funding for these initiatives increased over the previous decade, and accounted for roughly $14 billion in fiscal year 2020, just under 9 percent of the total federal R&D budget.

Why GAO Did This Study

Scientific and technological innovation are critical to long-term U.S. economic competitiveness, prosperity, and national security. The U.S. has long been a global leader in advancing the frontiers of science and technology. Increased competition from other countries has led some experts to express concern that the U.S. may be losing its competitive edge in certain technologies. Agencies are investing in various R&D initiatives, including those that are of strategic national importance, such as network and information technology, nanotechnology, quantum information science, and global environmental changes.

This report describes (1) trends in federal R&D funding over the last 10 years and (2) the funding and organization for selected multi-agency R&D initiatives, among other objectives.

To address these objectives, GAO analyzed data published by the National Science Foundation on annual R&D expenditures and examined Office of Management and Budget (OMB) data. GAO also reviewed agency documentation and collected written responses to structured questions on federal R&D from the Chief Financial Officer or budget office from the five agencies that fund most R&D.

In addition, GAO interviewed officials from OMB and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, including the Directors of the National Coordination Offices for selected multi-agency R&D initiatives, which are coordinated under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council.

For more information, contact Candice N. Wright at (202) 512-6888 or [email protected] .

Full Report

Gao contacts.

Candice N. Wright Director [email protected] (202) 512-6888

Office of Public Affairs

Sarah Kaczmarek Acting Managing Director [email protected] (202) 512-4800

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Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

New dissertation grants expand global research support

The newly established penn global dissertation grants program provides as much as $8,000 in funding to each of 11 ph.d. candidates to enhance global components in their research..

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Penn Global has announced the first recipients of the newly established Penn Global Dissertation Grants program , providing as much as $8,000 each in funding to 11 Ph.D. students across four schools

With dissertations ranging from examinations of artificial intelligence and computational immunology in Vietnam to a look at the intersection of women, food, and freedom in the Dominican Republic, the recipients will use the funds to enhance global components in their dissertation research.

A main priority for Penn Global under its third strategic framework is to develop initiatives that support graduate and professional research with global dimensions. Introducing the Penn Global Dissertation Grants, which will be offered annually, augments global opportunities for graduate and professional students by expanding the scope of Penn Global’s research support.

“This program is the best example of how our strategic plan is responsive to the needs of the University community,” says Amy Gadsden , associate vice provost for global initiatives. “When Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Zeke Emanuel and I met with stakeholders across campus last year to further refine the strategic plan, a discussion emerged among faculty about the need to address a growing gap in support for graduate and professional students pursuing international research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. It was clear that what we needed was a funding mechanism to support international dissertation research. We ran with this idea and, in close partnership with the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, established the Penn Global Dissertation Grants.”

“It was important for our office to get behind this initiative,” says Karen Detlefsen, Vice Provost for Education. “It met a real need to provide more University support for graduate work that has potential to extend well beyond the boundaries of any discipline. The research many of our students are doing in a global context is inspiring.”

This program is intended to harness the power of Penn’s graduate student community to enhance the University’s global engagement.

“Graduate students are on the cutting edge of research, but finding support for global inquiry can be difficult,” Gadsden says. “This program ensures that Penn’s graduates students can stay on the cutting edge of their fields and do deeply immersive work to advance new knowledge.”

The program offers two tracks for Ph.D. students seeking to incorporate global dimensions into their work: global exploration and global enhancement. Global exploration applicants are still in the development stages of their dissertation and will use this program’s resources to explore and engage global components for their dissertation research. Global enhancement applicants already include a core global focus to their dissertation and will use this program’s resources to broaden and deepen their research, ideally leveraging their dissertation toward future career opportunities in global leadership.

In the School of Arts & Sciences , recipients are Juan Arboleda, a history Ph.D. student whose research focuses on Brazil and Colombia; Adwaita Banerjee, an anthropology Ph.D. student whose research focuses on India; Tayeba Batool, an anthropology Ph.D. student whose research focuses on Pakistan; Nursyazwani Binte Jamaludin, an anthropology Ph.D. student whose research focuses on Myanmar; Jalen Chang, a history of art Ph.D. student whose research focuses on France, Oceania, and New Caledonia; Bonnie Maldonado, a Ph.D. student in Africana studies whose research focuses on the Dominican Republic; Taylor Prescott, a history Ph.D. student whose research focuses on Sierra Leone; and Alexandra Zborovsky a history Ph.D. student whose research focuses on Russia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, and Israel.

In the Perelman School of Medicine , the recipient is Van Truong, whose focus is on genomics and computational biology in Vietnam. In the Annenberg School for Communication , the recipient is Adetobi Moses, whose research focuses on Ghana. In the Weitzman School of Design, the recipient is Hui Tian, whose research focuses on China.

The Penn Global Dissertation Grant program will also offer a platform for these students to share their work and research experience with the broader Penn community. One stipulation of the program is developing individualized post-award commitment plans. The inaugural cohort of awardees is currently finalizing their own plans, which may include Penn undergraduate mentorship programs, panel discussions on their research topics and outcomes, and other forms of publishable multimedia.

Currently enrolled Penn Ph.D. students from all Penn Schools and disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields, may apply. Additional program information is available at .

To Penn’s Class of 2024: ‘The world needs you’

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Campus & Community

Class of 2025 relishes time together at Hey Day

An iconic tradition at Penn, third-year students were promoted to senior status.

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Picturing artistic pursuits

Hundreds of undergraduates take classes in the fine arts each semester, among them painting and drawing, ceramics and sculpture, printmaking and animation, photography and videography. The courses, through the School of Arts & Sciences and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in an art form in a collaborative way.

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Penn celebrates operation and benefits of largest solar power project in Pennsylvania

Solar production has begun at the Great Cove I and II facilities in central Pennsylvania, the equivalent of powering 70% of the electricity demand from Penn’s academic campus and health system in the Philadelphia area.

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Education, Business, & Law

Investing in future teachers and educational leaders

The Empowerment Through Education Scholarship Program at Penn’s Graduate School of Education is helping to prepare and retain teachers and educational leaders.

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"Anyone who wants to do research in Singapore should get in touch now!"

  • International

Manu Kapur has been Director of the Singapore ETH Centre (SEC) since the beginning of the year. In this interview, he talks about which research programmes will be continued in Singapore, which new programmes will be created, and how researchers from across the ETH Domain can get involved in the SEC.

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Portrait picture of Manu Kapur

Manu Kapur, you started your academic career in Singapore. Now you have returned there after eight years in Switzerland. What was the biggest change for you? Sure, it's a different Singapore to the one where I started my career. But my experiences in Switzerland have changed my view of science. In Switzerland, and especially at ETH Zurich, we are in a very privileged position, as we not only have access to a lot of talent, but also enjoy a great deal of trust and autonomy, which allows us to innovate from the bottom-up, and do so quickly. Singapore, on the other hand, tends to take a more curatorial approach, emphasizing certain priority areas while leaving enough white space for bottom-up ideas. Both approaches work, and ultimately, I see it as a privilege to be able to work and live in and bridge two amazing cities - Zurich and Singapore.

What exactly does the Director of the ETH Singapore Centre (SEC) do? The Director is the overall in-charge of the SEC, reporting to the Governing Board of the SEC. I work closely with my Deputy Director of Research, Nicole Wenderoth, who brings in her research experience at the SEC, and Managing Director, Thomas Meyer, who looks after the operations. As Director, I focus on strategy, program development, and external stakeholder management. At the moment, our main priority is to develop the next generation of proposals for our research programmes that we would like to implement between 2026 and 2030. This is mission critical, as the funding for all our ETH programmes will largely expire at the end of 2025, so we need new ideas going forward.

Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC)

The Singapore-ETH Centre was founded in 2010 by ETH Zurich and Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF) as part of the NRF CREATE Campus. The research centre brings together around 350 researchers from various disciplines. They work within the framework of three flagship programmes - Future Cities Lab Global, Future Resilient Systems and Future Health Technologies - and several smaller programs as well on around 50 short to medium-term projects, such as Cooling Singapore and Urban Microalgae-Based Protein Production. The programmes and projects are mainly funded by Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF) and carried out by researchers of ETH Zurich and other universities.

SEC building, link to SEC page

More information can be found on the website of the Singapore-ETH Center.

Existing programmes have been continued so far. Will you send all programmes into a new round? Our longest running program, the Future Cities Lab (FCL) is coming up for renewal. The program directors Sacha Menz, Arno Schlüter and Thomas Schroepfer are in the process of developing the fourth cycle of the FCL. Feedback from the NRF on the Future Health Technologies (FHT) programme has also been positive. Here, Nicole Wenderoth and Benedikt Helgason are working intensively on version 2.0. The Future Resilient Systems programme will come to an end, but resilience is such a cross-cutting theme that it will find its way into other existing or new programmes.

And what new programmes are planned? We currently have a pilot program on food sustainability and technology, directed by Alexander Mathys. And we have just received good news from the NRF to develop the next version of this program. Another completely new programme that I am working on focuses on learning and human potential. This is a topic that is very important to Singapore, alongside health. Finally, there is a huge interest in AI for Science. Here, I am excited that several programs could emerge, such as AI for drug discovery, sustainability, climate, materials, education and so on. The future is brimming with new possibilities.

Portrait picture of Manu Kapur


Phoenix City Council approves $20M for CAMI

artist's rendering of CAMI's west entrance

Artist's rendering of the Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies. CAMI will be a national biomedical research hub located on the Phoenix Bioscience Core in downtown Phoenix.

Courtesy of McCarthy + SmithGroup

The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies will receive more than $20 million in funding from the Phoenix City Council following a unanimous vote of support Wednesday. 

The Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies, or CAMI, is a biomedical research hub being developed on the Phoenix Bioscience Core in downtown Phoenix. Groundbreaking for the seven-story, 200,000-square-foot building is expected to take place this fall at the southwest corner of Seventh and Fillmore streets.  

The $20 million includes various forms of support that will be invested by the city over time, including $16.5 million in payments from the city’s Downtown Community Reinvestment Fund and abatement of ground lease rent for the term of the project.

"There is a culture of entrepreneurship in Arizona, especially in Phoenix," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins . "CAMI represents a convergence of talents, not only at the University of Arizona, but also including the great partners we have at ASU, NAU and TGen. I am so appreciative to the Phoenix City Council for supporting our vision for CAMI, for the Phoenix Bioscience Core and for the state."

The Wednesday vote followed a June 12 unanimous vote by the city's four-member Economic Development and Housing Subcommittee that support for CAMI be forwarded to the full council for consideration.

"Phoenix is among the top five of the nation's emerging life sciences markets and No. 1 for job growth in the life sciences in emerging markets," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. "We are confident the Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies will further enhance our status as a significant force in the national bioscience industry while contributing to vital growth in our local and state economies." 

Mayor Gallego is a member of the CAMI Advisory Council, a group of more than 20 distinguished leaders from academic research, biomedical and health care industries, government, and private corporations across the state. Their guidance will ensure the work being done through CAMI translates to real-world outcomes to improve the health of Arizonans and advance precision medicine solutions to pressing health issues including cancers, infectious diseases and autoimmune conditions.

"Mayor Gallego and the Phoenix City Council have a strong history of championing the advancement of health sciences in Phoenix," said Dr. Michael D. Dake , senior vice president for the University of Arizona Health Sciences. "This financial investment speaks to the value CAMI will bring to Arizona through innovative and translational research, startup activity, and corporate engagement."

Led by inaugural executive director Deepta Bhattacharya , CAMI is expected to generate a return on investment of 2.5-to-1 in its first 10 years. An economic impact report anticipates economic activity in Arizona will increase by at least $3.9 billion thanks to CAMI, which will generate at least $140 million in new local tax revenue for Phoenix and Maricopa County.

"CAMI will be an exciting addition to the downtown area," said councilwoman Kesha Hodge Washington, who represents Council District 8 in which CAMI will reside. "The Phoenix Bioscience Core is part of our community, and CAMI aligns with our larger vision for growth by combining health sciences academics and research with community engagement and workforce development. It demonstrates the synergy that is created when industry and community partner to elevate Phoenix and make life better for our residents."

CAMI builds on the idea that the most effective defense against disease is the body's immune system. The goal is to translate advanced immunotherapies research into novel strategies for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases.

CAMI was started with New Economy Initiative funding provided to the University of Arizona by the legislature and allocated to UArizona Health Sciences. It has received strong government and philanthropic support , including $150 million in state funding and $4 million in county funding .

Resources for the Media

Stacy Pigott University of Arizona Health Sciences [email protected] 520-539-4152

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Public ranks long-term challenges and health determinants as top priorities for new EU

To enhance public health, the post-election European Union (EU) should prioritise long-term challenges such as climate change and the ageing population, as well as factors that influence our health, according to a new report . The findings, derived from a seven-month public debate led by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, highlight a collective call for the EU to play a more significant role in health.

The report, which is based on the public debate commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety ( DG SANTE ), outlines the key priorities and actions desired by citizens and stakeholders from a wide range of sectors and mostly from Europe. The analysis included more than 800 responses in conference polls and a survey, plus comprehensive inputs across three webinars .

The large and participatory initiative allowed to collect public opinion on nine critical health topics: health security; determinants of health; health system transformation; the health workforce; universal health coverage; digital solutions and AI; performance and resilience; long-term challenges like climate change and ageing; and the EU’s global role in health.

The public’s calls for action – including across sectors

Participants called for the European Commission to coordinate across its different policy branches. Collaborating across sectors is considered key to deliver health priorities, making the concepts of ‘ Health in All Policies’ and ‘Health for All Policies ’ important tools for addressing the determinants of health. Interestingly, the topics which garnered the highest consensus in the discussion framework were those least controlled by the health sector alone.

Significant measures should be taken to mitigate the health impacts of environmental risks, including promoting environmental health and supporting health equity through integrated policies. Participants also considered addressing the needs of an ageing population essential, by improving health services and ensuring that health systems are prepared to meet the demands of older adults.

The public opinion suggested several actions to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) across the EU, such as ensuring equal access to comprehensive health care services for all EU citizens and financial protection for all. Other recommendations ranged from establishing a common minimum coverage package and a European health insurance scheme to focusing on underserved groups, improving health literacy, and including mental health in UHC policies.

What role for the EU?

Participants highlighted the importance of EU legal frameworks and instruments in promoting and safeguarding health, such as funding and technical support. They advocated both for new tools and for better implementation and coordination of existing mechanisms.

Aligning educational standards was raised as a key topic in the context of addressing shortages of health workers , regional disparities and managing the demands for new skills. Better addressing health workforce needs and improving their working conditions to mitigate existing gaps was also discussed. There was consensus on the need for EU approaches to health workforce issues, including better coordination of initiatives and pursuit of EU wide policies.

Digital solutions , health security and strengthening the EU’s global voice and leadership were widely discussed but ranked slightly lower. Possible explanations outlined in the report include the “transversal nature of digital solutions, which voters may have perceived as a means to achieving other priorities”. The COVID-19 pandemic and sustained EU action on health security may have elicited some voters to opt for other topics that have received less policy attention in recent years.

Survey, webinars, and conference polls

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  1. Four Steps to Find Funding for Your Research

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    This handout will help you write and revise grant proposals for research funding in all academic disciplines (sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts). It's targeted primarily to graduate students and faculty, although it will also be helpful to undergraduate students who are seeking funding for research (e.g. for a senior thesis).

  18. 5 Research Topics for NCER and NCSER Grants

    Finally, in addition to their lists of standing topics, NCER and NCSER also include special topics within the Education Research Grants and Special Education Research Grants competitions to respond to pressing issues in the field, or to jumpstart research in areas that have not received _____ 3 This ...

  19. How to Get Funding for Research Projects: the Complete Guide for

    Research grants for students, and undergraduates, in particular, rarely offer much financial support. Never overstate the amount you need. Requesting too much money is the most frequent reason for proposal rejection. Find a professor whose sphere of interest coincides with the topic of your intended research.

  20. Research Project Agenda Topic Themes Inform Funding Opportunities

    The Topic Themes within the Research Project Agenda were identified from a variety of inputs, including PCORI's authorizing law and the wealth of public input received from a broad spectrum of stakeholders during PCORI's strategic planning effort completed in June 2022. The themes include many challenges ripe for patient-centered CER and ...

  21. Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and ...

    Table Published: May 14, 2024. The table below displays the annual support level for various research, condition, and disease categories based on grants, contracts, and other funding mechanisms used across the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as disease burden data published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

  22. Project Areas by Topic

    OWH has funded research projects that address health topics affecting women including cardiovascular disease, bioinformatics, cancer, device safety, pregnancy/reproductive health, sex differences ...

  23. Federal Research and Development: Funding Has Grown since 2012 and Is

    What GAO Found. Federal research and development (R&D) funding has increased since 2012—most recently because of COVID-19 stimulus funding. Five agencies obligated the majority of federal R&D funding with the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) accounting for nearly 80 percent in fiscal year 2021 (see figure).

  24. New dissertation grants expand global research support

    Penn Global has announced the first recipients of the newly established Penn Global Dissertation Grants program, providing as much as $8,000 each in funding to 11 Ph.D. students across four schools. With dissertations ranging from examinations of artificial intelligence and computational immunology in Vietnam to a look at the intersection of women, food, and freedom in the Dominican Republic ...

  25. "Anyone who wants to do research in Singapore should get in touch now

    The research centre brings together around 350 researchers from various disciplines. They work within the framework of three flagship programmes - Future Cities Lab Global, Future Resilient Systems and Future Health Technologies - and several smaller programs as well on around 50 short to medium-term projects, such as Cooling Singapore and ...

  26. Through NSF funding, graduate students and community partners find

    2023-24 NRT cohort members. Photo by Sarah Holland. Since the program began in 2019 with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the NRT Program has bought together graduate students from engineering, data science, and social science for one-year fellowships. Students work in multidisciplinary teams of other fellows and community partners to define a problem within the community ...

  27. Funding Opportunity: ARPA-E 2024 Vision OPEN Call FOA

    Lewis-Burke Associates had provided a report about Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy's (ARPA-E) new FOA for its Vision OPEN 2024 program to fund up to 50 clean energy technology projects. Unlike ARPA-E's standard technology program solicitations, which are narrowly focused on specific topic areas, the Vision OPEN 2024 is targeted towards achieving a broader sustainable energy and ...

  28. Phoenix City Council approves $20M for CAMI

    The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies will receive more than $20 million in funding from the Phoenix City Council following a unanimous vote of support Wednesday.. The Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies, or CAMI, is a biomedical research hub being developed on the Phoenix Bioscience Core in downtown Phoenix.

  29. Public ranks long-term challenges and health determinants as top

    Participants called for the European Commission to coordinate across its different policy branches. Collaborating across sectors is considered key to deliver health priorities, making the concepts of ' Health in All Policies' and 'Health for All Policies' important tools for addressing the determinants of health. Interestingly, the topics which garnered the highest consensus in the ...

  30. Oral Health Resource Center Update: May 2024

    Call for Papers: Oral Health Equity Research Topic. Oral health will be spotlighted as a pivotal component of public health in the United States with submissions for Oral Health Strategies to Achieve Health Equity and Improve Public Health in the U.S., examining how oral health interventions can enhance public health practices and outcomes ...