However small, look for opportunities to develop proposals and win funding.
Even though you have fellowship funding, there are other funding opportunities you need to know about and take up – Dr. Inês Violante, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medicine
Faculty and Department level support
The Research Office is your first point of call, as they have a wealth of information on their web pages. For more specific advice, events or information or funding relevant to your discipline area, then contact your Faculty Research Service. All the teams (central and faculty-based) are experts in helping you to find and apply for funding that fellows are eligible to apply for.
- Faculty of Engineering Research Services: responsible for the administration of funding and contract management
- Faculty of Medicine’s Joint Research Office: provides support for Investigators in managing a research project and their Departmental Research Managers should be able to assist you in finding appropriate funding
- Faculty of Natural Sciences Research Services: responsible for the administration of funding and contract management and:
- Business School: the team is responsible for applications and management of grants
My advice to any new fellow would be to meet with the research manager for their department and sign up to research professional, say yes to opportunities to be involved with grants and make yourself visible! – Dr Lesley Hoyles, MRC Intermediate Research Fellow, Department of Surgery & Cancer
Tips for finding funding
You will not get a bespoke list of relevant funding opportunities given to you on a plate. The majority of funding in the UK comes from a small pool of funders. You will need to put in the hard work to study and get familiar with the major funders - become an expert in what they do and what they fund. To help you with this we recommend the following:
- Set up a Research Professional account with tailored searches and alerts
- Meet with a representative of your Faculty Research Service, or the department research manager – they are the experts at Imperial on what is available and what you will be eligible for as a fellow
- Follow the major funders’ news feeds and social media (particularly on twitter) to find out about opportunities as soon as possible (and often before they are officially announced)
- Get curious – always ask other researchers that you meet at conference and events where they got their funding or where they have been applying – you might hear about funders that you were not aware of
- Make it known that you are looking for funding opportunities – tell your mentor, your Research Office contacts, your Head of Department, colleagues on Research Committees and review panels (internal and external) – these are the people most likely learn of funding opportunities – and if they don't know you are looking, they are unlikely to tell you about them
- Go to Department and Faculty networking events – these are great places to find out about who is applying for what, and for having informal conversations that might lead to collaborative applications
- Share funding opportunities with your peers – if you share opportunities that you hear of that are relevant to your colleagues, they will reciprocate when they hear of something relevant to you
- Sign up to go to the PDC’s Funder showcases – these highlight what each funder offers, as well as giving you the opportunity to draw on the expertise of panel members and fellowship holders
I went along to a faculty research collaboration event – ‘speed collaborating’ – it was a great way of meeting lots of people. My department offers £2k seed-funding for collaborations with another member of staff. As a result I got a summer student, which has led to future grant applications – Dr Susannah Maidment, former JRF, Department of Earth Science & Engineering
Internal funding from Imperial
Internal Funding Opportunities, collated by the Research Office, covers a range of funding offered by the College and Faculties on Creating Impact, Interdisciplinary Research and Collaborative Activities, Personal Support and Supporting Research Integrity.
External funding opportunities
Research fellows are eligible for any funding that is open to “early career” or “junior” researchers. The most appropriate for you will be ‘First Grant’, ‘New Investigator’ or further fellowship funding as well as smaller grants for equipment, travel, conferences, visits or meetings.
Types of funding – can be split in to non–commercial (e.g. charities, Research Councils, Government departments/agencies) and commercial, which are more likely to be developed from established academic/commercial networks or may result from an institutional/commercial framework. The Research Office has useful descriptions of each main types of research funding and insights in to what the funders are looking for.
In addition to the usual sources, I find out about funding opportunities sometimes from ad hoc emails that come through from colleagues and section heads, but also from Research Professional and particularly my JRF mentor. I have found another good source of finding funding is attending entrepreneurial events like ‘hackathons’ and sandpits – these attract eager people who want to network, and this has helped me meet people, and pick up small grants and soft money. – Dr Ali Salehi-Reyhani, JRF, Department of Chemistry
Get external funding calls straight in to your inbox
Most external funding opportunities are advertised via the Research Professional website, which is a very comprehensive and up to date source of research funding opportunities in the UK, Internationally and across all discipline areas. Imperial subscribes to Research Professional, so you can access the site for free using your Imperial email address.
To maximize the chances to finding the most appropriate funding via Research Professional, and to be regularly informed about the latest funding opportunities it is strongly suggested that you:
Databases of funding opportunities
Most allow you to set search settings to show only the funding opportunities that you are eligible to apply for as an early career researcher.
UK and Europe:
- Charity Commission - regulator and registrar of charities in England and Wales – you can search for charities that provide funding to individuals or organisations
- CORDIS – Although not a funding database, CORDIS the European Commission's primary public repository and portal to disseminate information on all EU-funded research projects and their results in the broadest sense – so you will find a huge amount of information here on where and how research is funded in the EU
- EURAXESS funding search tool from the British Council - lists schemes that fund travel to conferences, meeting organisation, short visits, longer fellowships etc. Results can be filtered to show only those appropriate for early career researchers.
- RD INFO – a free database of funding opportunities. Register with your Imperial email address
- Research Professional – the main source of funding information for researchers at Imperial
- The UK Research Office – the European arm of the UK Research Councils – there are subscriber-only pages where you can receive funding updates and factsheets on European research funding
- Grants.gov - A free database listing every open grant opportunity available from US federal sources, including NIH
- Foundation Directory Online - public access to essential information about private and community foundations. It also provides an A to Z of Grantmaker websites split into Private Foundations, Corporate Grantmakers, Grantmaking Public Charities and Community Foundations
- National Science Foundation (US) - Free searchable database of funding opportunities – mainly for early career researchers - in biomedical research and science education
- Newton’s List – Gateway to international research collaboration - A free tool for funders and grant seekers interested in collaborative international research and education
- Society of Research Administrator International Grants Web - resource for finding funds available from local, state, federal and international governments. Also includes private funding information with links to Foundations, Non-profit Centres, Charities, and others