Applying for Research Grants: The Tips

Applying for research grants will be a familiar term for students who aspire to be a researcher. For researcher and scholars funding is a very important aspect to support the research in their respective field. For a researcher related to a scientific organization that willing to pour their money to cover the research cost, the funding is not an issue. However, for an independent researcher or in a scientific organization with a limited budget, they have to look for the money somewhere else, including applying for research grants.

The effort to get the research grant can be somehow tiring and frustrating, as it tends to drain time and energy to prepare for the proposal and the application. Moreover, patience is also needed when you are in the process of applying for a research grant, as there is always a possibility that even after all the effort the fund provider chooses to award the grant to other parties due to various reasons.


Types of Research Grants

Research grants are like special funds given by different organizations to support research projects in many areas like science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. These grants come in different types, depending on things like who can get them, how long they last, what they’re for, and how much money they give. Knowing about these types of grants can help researchers find the right one for their project. For scientists and researchers, there are lots of different research grants they can apply for, each with its own rules and reasons.

Project Grants

Project grants are the usual kind of research grants. Big organizations are places that give out project grants such as below:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Wellcome Trust

They’re available for one researcher or a team to back a particular research task, usually for a certain time and money amount. So, this money is useful for paying people, buying equipment, getting supplies, traveling, and other costs linked to the project.

Program Grants

Program grants are from institutions or organizations that support bigger research programs, or plans. Here are some examples of research program grants:

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • American Cancer Society (ACS)

They fund many research projects that are all about one main idea or question. Getting a program grant usually needs a detailed proposal and can be tougher than getting a project grant.

Fellowship Grants

Fellowship grants offer money to individual researchers. Also, the goal is help them with their training or advancing their careers. Some examples of organizations that provide fellowship grants are:

  • NIH
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

These grants can target certain points in someone’s career, like postdoctoral fellowships for those finishing their PhDs or awards for early career researchers. Moreover, they often cover things like living costs, tuition, and expenses related to research. Fellowship grants are usually given to postdoctoral researchers or graduate students.

Travel Grants

Travel grants give researchers money to travel to other places for their research or to attend conferences, workshops, or meetings in their field. Some organizations that offer travel grants are below:

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • American Physiological Society (APS)

This money can cover things like travel costs, registration fees, and where to stay. Travel grants are often not as much money as other types of grants.

Equipment Grants

Equipment grants give researchers money to buy the tools they need for their research projects. Here are some organizations that provide equipment grants:

  • NSF
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)

These grants can go to either individual researchers or institutions. Getting an equipment grant is usually harder than other grants because you have to explain exactly why you need the equipment.

Seed Grants

Seed grants are available to help kick-start research projects in their early stages, usually aiming to get more funding later on. Some organizations that offer seed grants include: NSF; ACS; American Heart Association (AHA); American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Collaborative Grants

Collaborative grants support research partnerships between two or more institutions or researchers. Some organizations that offer collaborative grants include: NIH; Wellcome Trust; Cancer Research UK; European Research Council (ERC); European Commission’s Horizon Europe.

Industry-sponsored Research Grants

The purpose of Industry-sponsored research grants is to back research projects supported by private companies or corporations. Some organizations that offer industry-sponsored grants are:

  • Pfizer
  • Novartis
  • Merck & Co.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AstraZeneca
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Sanofi
  • Eli Lilly and Company

These grants usually fund projects that both the company and the research institution or researcher find interesting.

Guideline to Apply for the Grant

In order to increase your chance to be awarded the grant, we recommend you to follow the steps and tips in this article for your research grant application process. You can use the steps as a guideline in applying for the grant, so you know what has to be done as well as the consideration. Here the step by steps:

Look for and Identify Available Fund

Look for and identify potential sources of funding. The source of funding is varied, from the nonprofit public organization or government-funded body. Either way, the most important point in this particular process is to know and identify fund provider that most likely willing to provide the fund.

You can predict this by checking on the organization’s interest, vision, and objectives. The organization with similar objectives with your research is more likely to award you the grant. For a list of fund provider, you may want to visit the

Learn The Fund Guidelines

The next step in applying for research grants is to learn about the fund provider guidelines for grant research application. You have to make sure you read and learn all of the grant research application guidelines before sending your application to a particular organization. This step is important because a lot of otherwise qualified applicant is disqualified because of a minor mistake in their proposal.

Identify and Evaluate the Unique and Distinctive Aspect

Identify and evaluate the unique and distinctive aspect of your research project. The grant provider will have a lot of applications to choose and the decider often lies in the uniqueness of a particular research project. So, in order to increase the possibility of your proposal to be chosen, you have to able to show them that your research is different than the other.

Calculate the Numbers

Calculate the numbers. Because the grant is related to money and command accountability, it is recommendable to you to present your research description with valid number and statistics.

Mention and Specify the Effect of your Research Project

Mention and specify the effect of your research project to the society. Grant provider will more likely to award the grant to a research project which has considerable impact on the real world.


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