National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Mission: Funds biomedical research that enhances life and reduces incidence of disease and disability
Structure: 27 institutes and centers each with a different focus and funding guidelines
Types of grants/Areas funded:
- Research Grants(R series)
- Career Development Awards (K series)
- Research Training and Fellowships (T & F series)
- Program Project/Center Grants (P series)
- Resource Grants (various series)
- Trans-NIH Programs
- Resources for NIH grantwriters – provided here.
- NIH Career Award Wizard to help identify awards that are most appropriate to your career stage
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Mission: Funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering including social, behavioral, and economic sciences
Structure: 7 directorates with each directorate subdivided into several divisions
- NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER)
- Susan Finger provides detailed advice on developing and submitting an NSF proposal here
Other U.S. Government Agencies
You can search for active funding opportunities offered from any government agency at www.grants.gov. You can browse funding by category, by agency, and by intended recipient (choose “eligibilities”), or search using a variety of filters. Beyond NSF and NIH, you can check out funding available from:
- Department of Defense
- Department of Energy
- USC Office of Research has a nice compilation of federal agencies that may offer funding.
Philanthropic Funding and Professional Societies
Particularly in the translational life sciences, research is increasingly being supported through funding from philanthropic foundations. The trick is to find a foundation whose mission and funding focus overlaps your project. Examples of such foundations include:
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)– science education and biomedical research
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)– health and health care
- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation– education, environment, global development and population
- Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation– environmental conservation, patient care and science
- M. Keck Foundation– science, engineering, medical research, and undergraduate education
- David and Lucile Packard Foundation– improving the lives of children, science, reproductive health, and conservation
- The Kavli Foundation– astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience and theoretical physics
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation– global health and development
- Rockefeller Foundation– advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities
In addition to these, the Rockefeller Foundation has assembled a list of links to other philanthropic sources.
Other Options for Research Funding
- Professional societies: Some professional societies offer travel grants and some training and/or research grant opportunities to their members.
- The American Heart Association, for example, offers competitions for training and research grants every summer and winter. You should investigate whether the professional societies in your field offer research funds.
- Your institution’s office of research: Find funding avenues only open to researchers at your institution, which foundations are receptive to proposals from your institution, or state or local funding. Institutions often purchase exclusive access to funding opportunity databases— this means money with less competition. If your institution doesn’t have such an office (unlikely…), search online the terms “office of research,” “office of research support,” or “office of research development” to see which resources are freely available.
- Talk to people in your professional network: Talk to colleagues at your institution and in your science networks. Institutional colleagues have a good sense of which funders are friendliest to the department and may provide you with examples of successfully funded proposals. Colleagues from professional organizations are more likely to have a sense for which funders are most appropriate for your specific research.
- ASCB offers numerous opportunities for networking at the annual meeting, regional meetings, through committees, social media, and online communities (coming in early 2019).