So you have a research idea in mind that you will need funding for… how will you find the funding opportunities? The following steps will help you get started. 

1. Sign up to Research Professional. As we have an institutional subscription to this research funding opportunities database you can register and set up a tailored search that will email you once a week with new opportunities that match your criteria. Even if you are not ready to start applying for funding right now, it is a good idea to be aware of the funding opportunities on offer as this might spark another avenue for your research-related activity. Here are some slides (internal link) with tips and guidance on getting set up. 

Interesting point: Did you know that you can get seedcorn funding and funding for impact-related activities?

2. Sign up to the mailing lists of research funders and follow them on Twitter and other social media. Start with the standard funders in your discipline and include any other funders that catch your discerning eye on the Research Professional database – the UK Research Councils are an obvious choice of funder, however, do remember the national academies and learned societies who support your discipline. Apart from announcing funding opportunities, the information shared by funders will give you a feel for what they value and highlight any areas of priority they may have. You may also see opportunities to engage with them through consultations and sandpits 

Interesting point: Did you know that funders often make small pots of funding available for those who engage in sandpit events? 

3. Engage with your trusted research network. Whether this is your group of disparate personal contacts built up over the years or whether this is a structured and supported grouping (like the University R&I Themes), talk to them about the project you are looking for funding for and seek their feedback. Not only could this help develop and make your idea stronger but it may also mean that when the perfect funding opportunity comes along that others think of you and forward it on (they may even wish to collaborate with you or invite you onto their bid). 

Interesting point: Have you noticed that publications have acknowledgements to the funder’s of the research? – this can help to highlight who is funding research in your area. 

Finally, once you find an opportunity…. Read all the call guidance and make sure that what you want to do is a good match to what the funder wants to fund. If in doubt, seek a second opinion (directly from the funder if possible). 

For more information for those getting started with research funding at University of Portsmouth see our previous post on Getting started with research funding.