Obtaining funding is central to your success in academia. One of the reasons I was successful in receiving awards was because I constantly lookedfor new funding opportunities both within my university and nationally. Over the six years in my program, I applied to over 80 different awards, including travel awards, scholarships, research grants, and fellowship. This may seem like a lot, but the good thing about writing award applications is that many of them follow a similar format, so sometimes, you can reuse portions from past applications. Another benefit is that by applying so often, I got more effective and efficient in my process. An application that took me five hours my first two years would take me two or three by year four. My main tip for this post is to get used to identifying and applying for different funding opportunities. Below I have outlined some ways to identify both internal and external funding.
One of the best ways to find internal awards is to ask your advisor, mentors, and other faculty members about annual funding opportunities for travel, research, and professional development. It is also helpful to do a quick web search on your school or department website. Additionally, most universities have several organizations, research centers, or other entities that provide funding to conduct specific types of projects. At my gradaute university, we had a center that focused on the study of race and ethnicity, which I received a research grant to help fund my dissertation work examining anencouragement intervention for Black college students. Another way to identifyinternal rewards is by checking your emails. There are often opportunitiesburied in some of the emails forwarded by your department or school, so be surenot to simply just delete these without at least skimming them.
For external grants, a great place to start is looking at professionalorganization databases. For me, it was the American Psychological Association(APA) that houses a list of all funding they provide to students and professionals. In addition to these databases, each division of APA has its own listserv that regularly sent out division-specific awards. Be mindful that you may need to be a member of these organizations and/or divisions within the larger organization to be eligible for these awards. Another great way toidentify funding opportunities is by looking at scholar’s CV’s. I found plentyof awards that I would never have heard of glancing at the CV’s of recentlyappointed assistant professors. Moreover, searching for opportunities based on my identities (e.g., “Research Awards for students of color in psychology”) in Google helpedme find several awards that were not as well advertised. Lastly, severaluniversities have consultation services available for graduate students and professionals to find funding. During Gradaute school, this free service helped me identify and receiveseveral research awards. Since I was able to meet one on one with the consultants to discuss my applications, going through this process several times greatly improved my grant writing skills. During my dissertation year, I utilized the service so much that I was in their office at least once a week, applying for different opportunities.
Nelson O. O. Zounlome, Ph.D.
NASEM- Ford Foundation Fellow
Herman B. Wells Fellow