Research benefits society in more than one way. Electric cars are one of the most significant inventions of the 21st century. They have the potential to drastically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and help to slow the effects of climate change. This invention would not have been possible without the efforts of researchers and scientists who persistently hard to discover new ways to power vehicles using electricity instead of gasoline.
Research enables us to build upon our existing knowledge and find new and innovative ways to solve problems. It also contributes to the creation of new jobs and boosts the economy. Without research, we would remain stagnant in the same place and never make any progress.
Research is a time-consuming and expensive process. It consists of multiple steps, such as deciding on a topic, conducting the study, analysing data, and eventually publishing your findings. Funding is required every step of the way such as for laboratories, equipment, salaries, materials, overheads and finally to disseminate the findings of research to the wider world. This article will provide an overview of sources and challenges of acquiring research funding, as well as discuss a few valuable tips that researchers can apply to gain access to long-term funding.
What is Research Funding and where does it come from?
Research funding refers to financial assistance that is provided to researchers or research institutions to assist their research endeavours. Research funding is vital for researchers because it allows them to carry out their job and add to our understanding of the world.
There are several sources through which researchers can secure funding and each has its own advantages and risks. The amount of money that is available for research can vary widely. Some projects may require only a few thousand dollars, while others may need millions. One can apply for grants from government agencies, philanthropic organisations, or research institutions. Grants are the most common type of funding, which may be either short-term or long-term.
In addition to government and philanthropic funding, researchers can also seek out funding from individuals or private organisations interested in supporting research in their field of study. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of private companies and individuals funding research. This is often done by way of grants or donations to universities or research institutions. Some companies also fund research directly, either via their own internal research departments or by partnering with outside researchers.
Which funding source would prove best for you is based on a number of factors such as the nature of your research program and the amount of money you need to raise. However, regardless of the option, you choose; you will need to have a strong proposal and a well-organised plan to get funding for your research program.
Research Funding Challenges:
Research investment serves as a driving force for advancement. If you're a researcher, you are aware of how important funding is to continue your work and maintain steady progress.
Although there are a number of funding sources available for researchers, finding the money you need to support your study can be competitive and time-consuming. With a rising number of researchers competing for a limited pool of funds, it can be challenging to have your proposal approved, making the process of securing research funding highly competitive.
Here are the top three challenges researchers encounter when looking to secure funding for their study:
- Finding the right funding source:
There is a diverse array of funding opportunities available for research, ranging from public institutions to charitable organisations. With so many options out there, finding the ideal funding source can be difficult at times. Even before you can apply for any grant, there are a number of steps that demand a researcher’s time and attention including identifying the agency or organisation that is most likely to fund their type of research, ensure they meet the eligibility requirements and guidelines, and so on.
- Increased amount of paperwork:
Raising funding for research is not only competitive but it is also often accompanied by an increased amount of paperwork. This can be a daunting task, however, in order to be considered for funding, researchers must submit a compelling research proposal, fill out additional forms and provide as much information as they can about their research project to stand out from the crowd.
- Securing adequate funding:
Even if you identified the best funding source and submitted a winning proposal, there is no guarantee that you will receive the full amount of funding you need. Competition for research funding is fierce, and it’s no secret that many research projects go underfunded, resulting in delays, or even preventing them from being completed.
It is now not uncommon for researchers to spend weeks completing grant applications, only to be rejected. Securing long-term sponsorship can relieve researchers from having to submit multiple applications, which takes time from the research and experimentation and ultimately slows down the pace of discovery.
Tips to Secure Long-Term Research Funding:
Research projects go underfunded for a variety of reasons. For example, there may be simply not enough money available with the funder you pursued. Another possibility could be that the project may not be seen as a high priority by those who are in charge of allocating the funds. Regardless of the cause, underfunding is a serious problem for many research projects. However, fortunately, there are ways to overcome this problem.
Previously, we looked at some of the most typical obstacles researchers encounter when seeking funding for their projects and in this part, we will present and discuss some useful tips researchers can use to increase their likelihood of obtaining funding for an ongoing period of time.
- Strong research proposal:
To secure funding over the long term, you must have a unique proposal and discover a means to build partnerships. Applying for research funding can be a competitive process therefore it is important to put together an engaging quality proposal. Your proposal must clearly outline your project’s goals and objectives, as well as how you plan to utilise the funding. Another important tip to keep in mind is to ensure that your proposal is prepared for an audience with no prior knowledge, since assuming your reviewers are experts in your area of research can prove to be detrimental for your proposal.
- Find a likeminded funder:
It is essential that researchers thoroughly examine and comprehend the real needs of their project even before they apply to receive the funding. This will help you to identify people who are eagled to invest in your idea. When researchers and potential funders are on the same page and the researchers understand and address the issues that the funder is attempting to solve, it leads to a productive collaboration.
- Exhibit long-term perspective:
A long-term perspective is vital when conducting research and researchers must use the key components to their advantage by articulating why their research is unique and emphasising the value they aim to create. Ensure you include examples of successful long-term funding recipients and clearly outline the benefits of securing long-term funding. To create success, it is critical to define and demonstrate your willingness to break new ground.
- Demonstrate use of latest technology:
Funders want to see that researchers are using the most up-to-date technology to conduct their research. With a well-organised budget and the appropriate use of technology, researchers can keep tabs on their project's financial as well as non-financial progress and outcomes and are better prepared to address challenging situations and questions which gives the funder more confidence in his choice to support your work.
While these tips do not guarantee success but definitely prepare you for it. By closely understanding the funding landscape and being strategic in your approach, you can boost your chances of success.
Manage Your Research with OmniStar
Every researcher hopes to get their hands on long-term funding and once you do, you would not want to go wrong in managing it efficiently. OmniStar research can assist you in doing exactly that.
The OmniStar research management system can transform the way your organisation operates. The tremendous advancement in research management technologies has resulted in the development of a unique system, such as the OmniStar Research, freeing you from repetitive administrative tasks and other research management hassles.
Get in touch with an OmniStar expert today to discover how you can work smartly with a fully flexible research management solution.