Intern
    University of Würzburg Graduate Schools - Graduate School of Life Sciences

    There are thousands of potential funding sources to tap. One the one hand this is good, because there will be a supportive institution/program for almost any research-related desire you may have. However on the other hand this can be a negative thing because it can be difficult to find the right source, and no two funding sources can be treated equally.

    Each funding agency has individual means and policies:

    • They may hand out millions of Euros per year, or a just a few thousand.
    • They may operate on a local, regional, national, super-national (e.g. EU) or even global scale.
    • Most have constraints on research topics, on types of research-related activities which will be funded, as well as on the career stages of applicants.
    • Many also have particular considerations regarding the nationality, gender, age, family status, membership in certain organizations or even political and/or religious convictions of an applicant.
    • Some of them are quite strict about such issues, others appear to be flexible when you ask.
    • They may request anything from filling in a short form to writing a 50 page application.
    • They may take from between several weeks to more than half a year to decide
    • Deadlines may vary from none at all to once a year.
    • Some offers are broadly advertised and well known, others mostly rely on word of mouth.
    • Some have success rates of <5 %, others of >50%, which may or may not correlate with the amount of money that is available in the program and for any individual applicant.
    • In many cases you can apply yourself. In other cases your present or future supervisor will have to secure the money on your behalf. In any event, you always need written support (e.g. reference letters) from established scientists.

       

    If you consider all that, it is obvious why there is not a single platform on the internet that would give you a comprehensive overview of funding sources, let alone one that allows you to search by all relevant parameters. Having said that, a few useful - if far from perfect - sites exist. We also list a few individual funding sources.  Some of them are rather obvious, some are “editor's pick”.   

    It is also clear that in any individual case there will be only a few sources with a favorable ratio of effort-to-success probability. The main question is:

    How to identify those few?

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