So how do you find that one grant opportunity that will bring you success? The trick is to find a funding opportunity where your needs and the expectations of the funding agency are well aligned. That is why you need a search strategy.
A search strategy helps you to determine what you want, establish your search criteria, perform a search going from specific funds to generic funds. After identification of a possible fund, check your eligibility and assess the match again.
The funding calendar
Please trust us when we tell you that using Google is a better way of identifying funding opportunities than any funding database. However, in some cases a funding database can still be useful.
Our funding calendar contains the most relevant research grant opportunities for postgraduate researchers from Leiden University. The calender can be filtered on:
- faculty: a crude research field indicator
- target group: eligibility based on career stage
- funding type
- submission status
Nevertheless, we understand that you might be worried that you are missing that perfect opportunity, so please consider using the search strategy below.
Step 1. Match your funding goal to a funding type
The first step is defining what you need funding for and matching this goal to a funding type. Do you need to fund your own salary? Go abroad? Start up a collaboration? Buy equipment or do field work? At the big funders like NWO and Horizon Europe the different programmes and instruments are designed for a specific purpose. It is key to find a match between your goal and the purpose of an instrument. You can use funding types as a shortcut to identify a group of grants that fit your purpose and use this as a filter in searching our funding calendar.
Step 2. Establish your search criteria
Once you have defined your goal, you need to start taking other factors into consideration: how much money do you need? When do you need the money? Where do you want to perform the research? Take into account your own eligibility and define your next career stage. Take your research area as a further boundary. When searching online the following search criteria might be useful:
- type of funding terms: research grant, funding opportunity, research funding, call for proposals, award, subsidy, fellowship, scholarship, stipend, travel grant, travel bursary, visiting researcher, visiting fellowship, sabbatical, international (scholarly) exchange
- research field: try both generic and specific terms, be creative on this one
- eligibility indicators: e.g. postdoc, established investigator
- other conditions: like country and purpose (equipment)
Step 3. Perform a search
Start your search close to home and expand outwards. The more specific the fund is, the greater the potential match and the less competition you can expect:
- Ask your local grant advisor, (prospective) supervisor, scientific director and department management for funds they know about. Look up CV's of peers in Academia to see what grants they received.
- Investigate the websites of scholarly associations, the universities you want to work at and the national funders of countries you want to work in. It might also be useful to look at embassy websites and specific country websites that focus on helping students and academics find funding (for the Netherlands see help for prospective Leiden academics). The most applicable funding opportunities at Leiden University are in the funding calendar.
- To access private funds and crowdfunding you can contact the department Alumni relations and private funding.
- Perform a Google search, with search terms as determined in the search criteria above. Be loose and stringent and particularly focus on finding overview pages. Check the validity of the data carefully at the original source, overviews tend to outdate themselves quickly.
Step 4. Assess the match
Use our decision tool on whether or not to apply to make an informed decision on whether the selected grant and your project match sufficiently to be successful. It helps to write a one page proposal first. This wil help you establish what you would like to achieve. You can use it to get critical feedback on your ideas from colleagues and you can address the match between the project and the aims of the funding agency.