Funding Opportunities

The questions on everyone's mind in research these days is about funding. Where will my next grant come from? Or if you are a graduate student or post doc – where will my first grant come from? This may be particularly daunting in the light of sequestration and budget cuts from the government.
Everyone knows that obtaining funding is not simple or easy. Here, we'll talk about where you can find funding and optimizing you chances of getting it.
Let's take a look at the largest single source of research funding in the US: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with a specific research agenda, typically based on particular diseases or body systems. In 2012, the NIH funded about $16.5 billion in research grants. That number is expected to be the same in 2013. Although the NIH has promised that the number of grants will increase for 2013, the amount of money given out is expected to be the same, meaning that each individual grant will be lower on average.
More important than the total budget is the funding rate for each institute. It's good to know what your chances are with each application. This varies from 9% to 29%, depending on the institute. You can find specifics on funding rates and other valuable NIH information here:
Don't limit yourself to your standard NIH institute (or the one your old boss always applied to). If your model or ideas apply to other organs or disease systems, go to where the funding is, and where your best chance of success lies.
In addition to the NIH, there are other government sources of funding as well. For a complete list of granting agencies, visit:
In addition to the NIH and government agencies, there are many large private organizations and societies that provide research funding or other awards, specific to disease areas, such as:
In particular, the American Association of Immunologists provided $800,000 worth of awards and grants in 2013.
Lastly, private and public companies, whether they are biotech or not, may offer prizes, awards, or other contests. Some include Honda, BD Biosciences, Novartis, and DuPont, to name a few. While these are often marketing related, it still could provide a useful resource for those desperately seeking funding.
BioLegend has been providing a monthly $500 Travel Award drawing for junior investigators since 2008.
If you are still seeking funding, keep looking and leave no stone unturned. Your best opportunities may be hiding in the places you least expect.
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