It is feasible to publish papers without the use of outside funding; if you are running observational research or experimental research with a small sample size, you probably can conduct it without the use of outside funding and result in meaningful papers such as case reports, case series, observational studies, or small experimental studies.

If you are undertaking multi-centric research, randomized controlled trials, field experiments, or observational research with large sample numbers, it may be hard to complete the study within the department or institution’s resources, necessitating external funding. 

A significant research endeavor needs a workforce and materials, as well as funding to meet these needs. Continue reading to learn why you should apply for funding for research, what types are available, where you can get it, and most crucially, how to apply.

What is funding for research and how does it work?

A grant gained for undertaking scientific research, usually through a competitive process, is defined as research funds. Applying for grants and obtaining research funds is an important element of performing research. 

The first thing you should know is that the majority of research financing comes from two primary sources: businesses (a pharmaceutical business, for instance) and the government (e.g., from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and so on). 

Based on the most recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) information, businesses contributed more than 3 times as much as the government to R&D – Research & Development, in 2019 ($463,745 million vs. $138,880 million).

Charitable foundations (e.g., the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, etc.) subsidize a lesser portion of scientific research, particularly in the development of treatments for diseases such as cancer, malaria, and AIDS. In 2019, charitable foundations were responsible for $26,662 million of funding for research.

So, how exactly does funding work?

Funds assist qualifying researchers with money, equipment, or both to conduct approved research or trials. The grantee is in charge of carrying out activities, reporting progress, and preparing results for publishing. The granting organization supervises the use of funds it disburses, although it usually has little participation in the activity itself.

What are the four types of research funding?

When it comes to funding varieties, there are two categories to consider: commercial and non-commercial funding. Non-commercial fundings are those that seek only acknowledgement, such as charities, government departments, academies, institutes (e.g., National Institute of Health), and commercial fundings are those that will benefit from the research, such as pharmaceutical companies that want to demonstrate the benefits of a certain drug or understand market gaps. 

There are four major types of grant financing within these two categories, as outlined below:

  • Competitive funding: Competitive funding, often known as discretionary funding, is a method of selecting proposals based on the judgment of a reviewer or team of reviewers. Funding is granted based on the merits of the application, and grantees are not chosen at random. 
  • Continuation funding: Continuation funding grant schemes allow current grant winners to continue their funds for the next year. Some programs are exclusively open to current grantees, while others accept applications from both current grantees and new candidates. 
  • Formula funding: Formula grants, as opposed to competitive funding, are distributed to pre-determined grantees. Non-competitive grants are often distributed to qualified entities based on population and/or other census factors, and any candidates who fulfill the application process’s minimal standards are eligible to receive funds.
  • Pass-through funding: Federal funds are distributed to states for distribution to local governments through pass-through grants. Under this funding scheme, states may distribute federal funds to eligible local governments through formula allocations or open competitions.

How to get funding for research?

Managing the grant application procedure is surely intimidating for individuals joining the scientific community, especially when there are so many government agencies, businesses and charities, each with its own financing schemes and deadlines. Finding appropriate funds to apply for may be a challenge as a whole.

The most essential characteristic is a strong interest in the subject, a thorough comprehension of the subject, and the capacity to recognize knowledge gaps. 

The second characteristic is to decide if your research can be completed with internal resources or requires external funding. The following step is to discover funding opportunities that can provide funds for your subject, prepare a research grant proposal, and submit it on time. 

Although each funding opportunity will have its own (typically extremely precise) standards, there are some aspects of a research grant proposal that are generally conventional, and they frequently appear in the sequence listed below:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Introduction to your research (problem statement, research objective or goals, and importance of research)
  • Literature review
  • Narrative of your project (methods, techniques, goals, outputs or outcomes, evaluation, and dissemination)
  • Personnel (explain the staffing requirements in detail and ensure that it’s appropriate)
  • Required budget and its justification

Check out how to format a research paper step by step to satisfy these requirements. There are some helpful tips for your title page, abstract, introduction, literature review, and project narrative that can help you produce your research grant proposal properly.

Where to search for funding

We’ve compiled a list of the greatest websites for finding financing alternatives. allows researchers to search for grant possibilities from the most prominent R&D federal funding organizations in the United States. Free-to-use.


You’ve probably heard of the National Institute of Health if you work in biomedical research. You may search their website for any of their grants. They give funds to early scientific scientists and new investigators. Free-to-use.

CRDF Global

CRDF Global is an autonomous, non-profit organization focusing on scientific cooperation and initiatives targeted at addressing global concerns such as global health, nuclear, biological, and chemical security, and water, food, and energy. Grants are available to scientists and innovators in over 40 countries. Free-to-use.


For those looking for research funding programs, ResearchResearch offers an international alternative. However, a paid subscription is required for access.


Throughout the year, the National Science Foundation gives a range of grants. The NSF funds around 24% of all government funded fundamental research. Free-to-use.

Influence on research

Although it may not appear so, financing may influence which research subjects are handled and what research outcomes are generated. The ideal is for funding to be primarily financial and impartial, but this is rarely the case when it includes businesses; fundings frequently include biases. 

For example, as previously exemplified, a pharmaceutical company-funded research may sponsor a study that benefits the drug industry. And that would hardly apply to a government grant or a charitable fund.

Is this to say you should shun commercial funding? No, these companies provide vital support for scientific research; nonetheless, studies financed by businesses or special interest organizations must be handled with caution to avoid any type of conflict of interest. Read this article to learn more about how a conflict of interest might affect your research and career, and how to avoid it: Conflict of Interest in Research: What Is It and How It Can Impact.

Attract readers attention with effective graphical abstracts

Learn the importance of including infographics in your research if you want to deliver more relevant data, broaden your research’s audience, and stand out from the crowd. Research articles containing Graphical Abstracts have 15x times higher citations than those that haven’t as per CACTUS analysis for articles published in the American Academy of Neurology. 

Check out our website and have access to the world’s largest gallery of scientifically accurate Illustrations using the Mind The Graph tool.


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