Advice / Careers

Where to find sources of academic research funding

Looking for suitable funding bodies can be almost as challenging as preparing a grant application. Here are some ideas for where to start:

  • Global resources
  • Europe
  • UK government funding
  • Learned and professional societies
  • Charities and trusts
  • US
  • Your institution
  • Industry

Global resources

  • ResearchProfessional outlines academic research funding opportunities. Many institutions subscribe to this service. It is particularly good for small, specialist or international sources of funding. It allows you to set up tailored email alerts
  • RESEARCHconnect International outlines UK, European and international funding opportunities. Tailored email alerts, commenting tools and workgroups allow users to disseminate information easily. Your institution may subscribe to this service
  • Pivot (Community of Science) lists global funding opportunities. Subscription required
  • The Wellcome Trust supports research and research capacity strengthening in low- and middle-income countries as well as the UK. It also funds a range of collaborative projects, including major international partnerships.


  • The EURAXESS portal has useful links to national contact points for funding sources in EU Member States and lists specific opportunities under EURAXESS Jobs
  • EURAXESS UK, hosted by the British Council, offers an excellent searchable database of international funding schemes suitable for anyone interested in coming to or working with the UK and for UK researchers looking to travel to or collaborate with researchers from other countries
  • Horizon 2020 (EU research and innovation programme, 2014 – 2020)
  • European Research Council The European Research Council is to encourage high quality research in Europe through competitive funding
  • EMBO offers awards and financial support for scientists at all stages of their careers that help to create an environment where researchers can achieve their best work
  • Marie Curie Fellowships are European research grants available to researchers regardless of their nationality or field of research
  • The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation with 18 research centres across Germany
  • CNRS: The French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) is the largest fundamental research organization in Europe
  • RESEARCHconnect outlines funding opportunities for the UK research community. Institutional subscription required.

UK: Government funding

In the UK public money is allocated to academic research by the UK’s seven Research Councils. These are many academics’ first port of call. Research Councils UK is the umbrella body which oversees the Research Councils.

Other government departments and agencies may offer research funding for projects connected to the remit of the department. Examples include the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for International Development.

Learned and professional societies

For example The Royal Society and the Linnean Society of London offer grants and fellowships. Professional societies often offer travel grants and funding for public engagement activities. Check the website of appropriate professional societies for funding opportunities.

Charities and trusts

Research all charities in your area of interest to find potential sources of funding. Large medical and other charities provide many different funding schemes.

For example:

US is a database for U.S. federal government grants, some of which allow non-US- based applicants. Always check eligibility criteria.
The independent federal agencies for funding are:

Your institution

Your institution may have resources to help you find funding opportunities. The Research Office, or equivalent, your line manager and senior colleagues will all be able to help you. Your institution may offer funding for example:

  • Travel grants
  • ‘Pump-priming’ awards for new projects
  • Knowledge transfer and public engagement grants
  • ‘Bridging’ funds: short-term grants if there is a gap between other funding sources. Awards are typically for 3-6 months.


Knowledge transfer from universities to industry is now a priority for governments and funding bodies. Specialised magazines may carry news of one-off opportunities for funding. Networking and networking sites such as Linkedin are a way of finding out about opportunities too.


One thought on “Where to find sources of academic research funding

  1. Great list to help someone appreciate the breadth of funding opportunities. I ran a few sessions on funding last year and have posted the slides online. Includes advice from a few key funders, reviewers, successful applicants and panel members.

    Follow link to “Navigating the Funding Landscape” and although aimed at a physics audience, mostly applicable across all disciplines…

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