How to find funding

The search for external funding can be a time-intensive process. The following are some suggestions on how to get started.

  1. Talk to the colleagues both inside and outside of the Wilson College of Textiles about their sponsored activities. Many faculty members at NC State are successful in obtaining external funding, and they can provide invaluable information about the types of external funding opportunities that might exist in your field. Partnering with other individuals who already have external funding is also a great approach to develop a productive relationship with a sponsor that could lead to funding for your collaborative or individual projects later.
  2. Review articles in the professional publications within your field that relate to your research interests and look for acknowledgement statements within the article about how the activity was funded.
  3. Attend professional conferences and meetings, and look for presentations that relate to your research interests and acknowledge their external funding agencies.
  4. Utilize Opportunity Search Tools to explore potential funding opportunities. Follow the suggestions in the user guides provided by these Opportunity Search Tools.
  5. Visit links that will direct you to sites where Research Funding Opportunities can be found. Additional funding opportunities are available at New Investigator Opportunities for new investigators.
  6. If you are interested in funding for new equipment, go to Equipment Funding Opportunities.
  7. When you have identified a potential sponsor through the means listed above, go to the sponsor’s website to find out what types of funding opportunities exist and what the sponsor has funded in the past.
  8. After you have narrowed your search to one or more sponsors that might have an interest in funding your research, you may wish to contact the program manager to discuss your idea. Do your homework ahead of time so that when you contact the program manager you have thoughtful questions that cannot be answered just by reading the funding announcement. You do not want to give the program manager a negative first impression.
  9. When there is an opportunity, try to meet with a program manager of the sponsor at a professional conference or at the sponsor’s office. When discussing a research idea with a program manager, make sure to respect the fact that the program manager is expected to treat every potential applicant equally and fairly.
  10. Many sponsors hold grant workshops, meetings, open houses, or webinars.  Attending these events is a great way to learn what they normally fund and whether your research idea has a fit.
  11. Serving as a proposal reviewer is also a great means to learn how proposals are evaluated and selected.  For example, you may wish to inform the NSF program manager that you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer for future competitions. If selected to serve as a peer reviewer you will not evaluate your own proposal, but you will have the opportunity to see firsthand how proposals for this program are evaluated. This can provide you with valuable insight into the NSF proposal review process.
  12. While writing your proposal, pay attention to what the sponsor wants to fund. Presenting what you want to carry out is not enough. It is critically important to address what the sponsor hopes to accomplish.