Fund Your Research

It is common for postdocs to be supported by their PI initially, but often postdocs will be asked to find their own funding at some point. Here are some resources that may help you start your search for funding.

Fellowships are competitive awards that generally do not require service (i.e., work) as part of the award. They are intended to fund your academic study and research. Fellowships may be offered by your department, the University, the federal government or private agencies.

Fellowships are typically very competitive, and many students apply for several fellowships at one time. Some competitions require nominations from departments or a faculty members. When asking your department to consider nominating you, be prepared to provide documentation to justify your nomination.

Need some guidance on applying for grants and fellowships?  Learn more from a recent compendium of tips from Yale’s grants office. See below for more tips and tricks from UMN OVPR, UMN graduate office and several other academic institutions from across the US.

Search Tools

    • NIH also maintains a list of non-NIH funding opportunities.
    • The Pathways to Science Portal hosts opportunities across a range of STEM disciplines, funded by NSF, NASA, NIH, and university and research labs across the country. Along with funding opportunities find a library, webinars, and tips on applying, interviewing, and negotiating a postdoc position.
    • The Ph.D. Student’s Guide to Fellowships-A start-to-finish guide to help you land the perfect fellowship. Thousands of fellowships at your fingertips…
    • SITC Fellowships The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) Fellowships program was established through the Forward Fund to support the development of early career scientists in the field to cultivate the next generation of cancer immunotherapy experts. 

Past Proposal Writing Workshop Videos

Information below from the Council of Graduate Students site:
    • Writing Fundable Grants in Sciences & Engineering, proposal writing workshop 2020 Slides HERE
    • Writing Grant Proposals in the Sciences & Engineering: by Dr. Esam El-Fakahany. Video HERE (Spring 2019)
    • Training Video with tips on how to complete your application and write effective proposals and budgets! 

Funded Research Databases (Federal)

Both NIH and NSF maintain public databases of grants awarded.  This is a valuable tool for assessing whether proposed research is in the realm of what is being funded by either agency.  These records include an abstract of the funded research, the funding opportunity announcement under which the proposal was submitted, names of principal investigators and program officers, dollars awarded, (for NIH) the study section that reviewed the grant proposal, and the divisions or institutes funding the research. Both are kept up-to-date to reflect awards made through the last day or two.

Check out the NIH Matchmaker tool
NIH rolled out a  Matchmaker tool in RePORTER this spring that can help you determine which IC may be interested in "your idea or which NIH program official you might want to reach out to, and which study section you might want to suggest your application gets assigned to for review." (Check out the video demonstration of Matchmaker): 

·Simply enter your abstract or terms into the search field (give it enough information for it to make as precise a match as possible).

·Select whether you want to search for: 

o   Similar Projects, which will allow you to explore NIH funded projects that most closely match, which ICs funded those projects, to which study sections applications for those awards went, and more.

o   Similar Program Officials, which will show you which NIH program officials have grant portfolios that most closely match the information you input, allow you to explore the awards in those portfolios, provide you email addresses so you can contact the program officials, and shows you the ICs of the program officials   

o   Explore the results screens! Filter results by clicking on the histograms.  

When in doubt, reach out – NIH staff are there to help you navigate the grants process!

Federal Government Funding Opportunities

Download the most recent UMN Washington Update prepared by Lewis-Burke LLC for information regarding funding opportunities and agency updates.  

Foundation and Private Funding