Research Grants

Research grants provide funding in many areas of study. These areas range from research into the human genome, cancer studies, sustainable agriculture, Alzheimer’s projects, and other areas of scientific and technical research. These grants are highly specialized, and generally focus on a key field of inquiry requiring an expertise in that particular field.

There are several sources of funding for grant research. Sources include: the federal or state governments, charitable foundations, and major corporations with Research and Development Departments. Most government research grants are awarded to major colleges and universities, while charitable foundations provide funding for inquiry into specific areas of concern. While these concerns may include in-depth study of social issues, more often than not, the focus is on a specific illness or disease process.

Major corporations fund research into highly specialized areas with an “eye” on profit. The pharmaceutical companies are a case in point. But keep in mind that those who conduct research into the development of new drugs and drug protocols are highly trained attaining a level of expertise that is both a combination of advanced education, and work experience. Regardless of the area of inquiry, requirements for any individual or group seeking grants for research means having advanced degrees: M.D., Ph.D., or a combination of such factors.

Now, it is true that research grants are attainable for graduates, doctorates and post doctorate studies. Again, though, these grants are very specific, and highly selective. Additionally, the agency or institution from which funds are sought has criteria that must be followed. The criteria include what will or will not be funded. If an individual wants to obtain grant research funds from the National Institute of Health, know what it funds. Stem cell and cancer research are but two areas of research funded. Equally important, the grant seeker must have attained the needed qualifications.

Federal research grants are highly prized, and sought after. In order to understand the enormity of such opportunities, one must subscribe to, and receive daily e-mails on current federal funding initiatives. This is the clearinghouse for federal grants, and full announcements provide detailed criteria as to the nature of the initiative, and who or what qualifies for grant submission.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides research grants to small businesses that conduct research and development. These grants are provided by two distinct programs: SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and the STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs. Both programs encourage small businesses to undertake R&D projects that “meet federal R&D objectives, and have high potential for commercialization, if successful.”

Research grants are highly competitive. The process is time-consuming because the granting agency, from the federal, state, or charitable foundation level, will require significant detail as to the scope of the research project. The grant seeker may be asked to provide detailed background on the primary researcher (s), facility management, equipment required, establish timelines, and furnish proper protocols. Finally, the granting agency will demand measurable outcomes that can, if required, be replicated.

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