Graduate Student Funding Opportunities
How’s a graduate student supposed to find grants? This is one of the most common questions I hear about grant writing. This question seems straightforward, but it’s usually supported by underlying fears:
- Funding is for people who are “bigger” (e.g., people with: PhDs, a big name, a huge track record, a top institution).
- I only need a tiny bit of money. Why is this so hard?
- No one wants to support a scholar like me (e.g., someone who: does interdisciplinary work, studies a niche topic, is international, is a scholar from a marginalized group).
These fears are not helpful. They may have tiny seeds of truth to them (most fears do). But these fears are not 100% true.
Instead, the truth is this. Funders want to support talented rising scholars. It’s critical for our fields and our world. Rising scholars have important ideas that we NEED to hear. Let’s shout this truth from the rooftops, whether you’re a graduate student, new to grant writing, or a mentor.
Now back to the original question, how’s a graduate student supposed to find grants? Here’s a list of resources:
- Check out this repository of graduate student funding opportunities from Johns Hopkins. Eligibility criteria are listed for each opportunity.
- Here’s a list of scholarship and fellowship opportunities from the University of Connecticut. Note that early in your career, support often comes in the form of scholarships and fellowships.
- Leverage your networks. Here’s a post on how to do this.
- If you are an international student in the United States, see this amazing spreadsheet from Dr. Carmen Falcone and Marilyn Phan.
- Here are some frequent targets: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, Ford Foundation funding, Soros Foundation, AAUW fellowship, or the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award.
When you find an opportunity you’re interested in, check the eligibility criteria and deadlines. And then apply. Putting together an application helps you formulate your thoughts. Even if you aren’t funded, your applications show you’ve been working hard to gain support for your ideas. That’s powerful evidence for funders and hiring committees.
Good luck! If you know a graduate student who could benefit from this post, would you mind forwarding it to them? I hope we can help graduate students know that you’re never too early in your career to apply for funding. In fact, the best time to apply is now (whatever your career stage).
All my best,
P.S. What are your tricks for making your work fun? I got this really cute tape measurer for my craft projects. The tape is hidden inside Hello Kitty’s head. You stretch the body to measure, and touch the nose to bring the tape back in. It makes measuring fun. My kids love it!
[A Hello Kitty tape measurer.]