The significant decline in research funding over the last decade or so has left a long trail of unfunded research proposals that were high in both the quality and potential. It does not make an exception whether you are an already established scientist, mid-career investigator, or a researcher who is struggling to begin an independent career. Funding resources to keep the research laboratories productive are even scarce than they were yesterday. In these uncertain times, investigators who are relying entirely on a singular funding outlet are taking the most heat of the now acknowledged, research funding crisis. (Abkowitz and Hromas, 2018).
If you are at any of the above-mentioned career stages, revising your support grants strategy is the right step to increase the capital stream by establishing multiple sources of income to provide monetary assistance throughout the research project and beyond. Building a funding portfolio that is diverse in its reach with several monetary bases will give you the margin to see your research to an end and navigate the tough times better than those who depend on a single institution or funding agency. This article will explore several government grant opportunities as well as focus on where to look for by understanding different funders’ approach as to why they may support your research.
Understanding Government Grants
Governments all over the world have institutionalized several organizations to support research and development (R&D). These organizations allow citizens to pursue careers in science and technology for the advancement and welfare of the public.
To put it simply, government grants are ‘by the people – for the people’ phenomena. Today, we – the common people – finance the national scientific and technological advancements. The research that is funded by the government grants through federal funding agencies, e.g., the National Institutes of Health (NIH), etc., is for the collective uplift of society.
These grants that we all contribute in the form of public funds pave ways for technological innovations and advanced scientific knowledge. Directly and indirectly, we support R&D through the taxes that we pay, the goods we purchase from companies or the services we avail, and often the donations that we make to the charities supporting medical advancement on the national level. (Bollen, Crandall, Ding and Junk, 2014)
It is the federal revenue that is then put through a complex systematic procedure with the help of several funding agencies established with the sole purpose of assisting nationwide progress in the field of science and technology.
Opportunities for Government (Federal) Grant Funding:
Each federal funding agency has its criteria, approach, goals, and mission, which is usually clearly stated on its website or present on various grant databases. It is of absolute importance that you familiarize yourself with the funding organization you hope to have a successful shot at to support your research. Not every agency supporting your field of research is the correct choice for every particular goal. It cannot be stressed enough that having a diverse funding portfolio – that blends with several funding organizations – goes a long way.
While the main and most comprehensive database of federal grants statistics is Grants.gov, yet most federal funding agencies maintain their research websites. These web portals provide inclusive guidelines and follow-ups through their respective email alert services or newsletters.
We have compiled a list of other federal sites containing information on government grant funding programs.
- gov: A central source of information for government grant opportunities and applications from 26 federal funding agencies. Grants.gov is a free access web portal, requiring no subscription or sign-up.
- The National Science Foundation (NSF): The central website for another federal funding agency containing all the information about NSF funding programs. The NSF funds around 20% of the total of fundamental research that is federally supported. The NSF is also a free access web portal, requiring no subscription or sign-up.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): The central website for the largest funding agency of biomedical research in the world. This site offers extensive information about the NIH grant opportunities and other funding programs at the Office of Extramural Research. The NIH is also a free access web portal, requiring no subscription or sign-up.
- Grant Resource Center (GRC): The GRC is maintained and run by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). This website includes information about relatively small institutions and staff assistance in the administration of federal funding grants. The GRC is a paid access web portal requiring institutional membership.
- Fedbizopps: This website provides specialized space for the organizations on the lookout for federal government markets for their scientific inventions and discoveries. Fedbizopps is a free access portal for the research only; you are required to have a paid membership to avail its services.
- NIH RePORTER: The Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORTER) offers free access to published reports/papers, digital archives of funding information, and analyses of research project activities supported by the NIH. You will also find information on the NIH yearly expenditures as well as the outcomes of NIH funded research.
A Look into the Advantages and Disadvantages of Government Grant Fund
The economic growth of any country is the responsibility of the sitting government. Today, it is not possible to lift the economy if the country lags in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine) progression. To incorporate science into the whole structure that is working for the public welfare, federal, state, and local governments award financial assistance in a bid to promote social, health, defense, and educational prosperity of the country through the relevant governments departments by making funds available for eligible individuals and institutions to carry out scientific research.
But like with every other conceptual instance, the government grant funding programs come with both advantages and disadvantages. Below mentioned are some of the advantages that you must consider: