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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Funding or the Project -- Where to find funds

My apologies for being lax in posting. Shortly after my first post, I was struck with tonsillitis and have been recovering since. In my last post, I wrote about the differences between soft funding and the role of symbolic funding. Today, I want to focus on a question of which type of funding to consider. The funding you pursue is going to be dependent on a number of factors.  

The first questions you ask will actually lead you to more inert, fundamental questions. One such question is “does the funding dictate the direction of the research or do you pursue funds that support the research you want to do?” My recommendation is pursue the funding that supports your research, but let’s be honest -- all grants have specific audiences for which it looks for research to influence. National Science Foundation, for example, is interested in research that informs not only academic research but public policy. NSF is perhaps the most open in terms of research agenda, but there is still an agenda that you should keep in mind. Framing your grant proposal to the right audience matters for its successful application. Finding a balance between the research you are pursuing and the research that funding seeks may be more complicated in areas that are tied to ideological research.  

Another question is timing. Many grants operate under cycles. For example, the NSF has two review periods -- August and January submissions. The review period is about five months, so the earliest that grant funding could commence is six months from the submission. That is assuming that IRB approval has been obtained and other institutional barriers are cleared. Some grants don’t operate on time cycles, but rather ask the researcher to submit proposals for funding. These proposals are one to three pages in length and spell out briefly the research, its goals and aims, its methods, and its budget summary. From these proposals, the grant foundation will decide whether to invite a more detailed proposal.  

My funding trajectory may be slightly unique. I had the NSF on my radar for several years, thanks to my former University Sponsored Research Officer who made it her goal to get me funded (even if that was not my primary goal). From her perspective (and she was probably correct), my research was perfectly positioned between law and social methods, making it a prime candidate for several funding opportunities. Concurrently, I was serving on the University’s IRB committee, which exposed me to a variety of researchers in different departments that were talking about funding opportunities. Just being around those conversations on a regular basis made me aware of different opportunities that may be available and places where one becomes aware of opportunities.  

I am listing below some social science resources that may be helpful in pursuing grant funds.  

National Science Foundation

Social Science Research Council 

The Russell Sage Foundation









Posted by Marc Roark on September 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Permalink


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