Starts with an (Epically Awesome)  Idea

Good research starts with an epically awesome idea. If you are thinking about a research project, first thing is double check: potential for success? capabilities to do this? resourcesjustify the approach? time to commit to this? If yes, then it’s time to do a little more research.

Starts with an (Original)  Idea

Search for your idea’s founding need and topic in databases. Know what agencies are funding in your area of interest! Search for details of each grant, authors, key terms, duration of the grant, etc.

Now that you have done some research, double-check, is your idea: original, irresistible, and fundable? come from an established background? offer a vertical advancement? more knowledge to the field? general need/topic been funded recently?

Seek constructive criticism from your colleagues! Ensure you have the best idea, the strongest foundation, to build upon. Refine your idea based on critical feedback. Next, identify possible funding agencies.

Your idea should: immediately fit into the funding agency’s mission statement, should have recent award winners in your localized field, and you personally should be qualified to submit an application to the agency for research funding.

 Different Types of Funding

Consider who will fund your epically awesome idea. Two general funding agency categories: government funding, and foundation/industry funding.

  • Government funding agencies include
    • the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
      • Within the National Institutes of Health,
      • there are several different types of research grants.
    • other federal and state government agencies
      • Department of Defense
      • California Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  • Within foundation and industry funding, organizations that are disease focused,
    • American Heart Association, or
    • March of Dimes.
  • You also have professional scientific organizations,
    • American Association for Cancer Research
    • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association (PhRMA).
  • Also philanthropic foundations,
    • Gates Foundation
    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Prepare your Proposal

Step back into the weeds — look at when you are preparing your proposal. Think of Wedding invitations and the overall feel and tone match the couple’s style and the theme.  The RFP is funding agency’s invitation, a great deal of time and effort is put into the wording. The RFP often expresses the motivation of the funding agency, describes the final selection process, and highlights those areas which they are most interested in funding. The best way to win funding is to understand the motivation and process driving the selection decision. Get all current instructions for your proposal. Pay attention to the details. A good idea will not be funded if you do not follow the RFP’s directions. Understand the mechanics of the proposal and the motivation driving the selection decision.