How to get funding
1. Start early enough
As a rule of thumb you should get going at least 8 months before you expect money to flow.
2. Write down exactly what you want and need
- Purpose (travel grant, research stay, basic funding,..)
- Calculate all related costs carefully, set a lower limit of what you need and how much you could cover the rest from your own sources
- Consider when you need the funds (maybe there is a certain flexibility in time).
- Think of your personal situation. Your nationality, gender, stage of career etc. could exclude you from some funding lines and define eligibility for others.
3. Ask your primary supervisor for financial support
Every coordinated research project (research training group, SFB etc.) has travel money. That is also true for most other funded projects. However, there is usually not enough for everyone in a research group. Maybe you can still get a commitment from your supervisor (potentially in conjunction with some milestones you will have to reach). However, often the PI may prefer you to secure money from outside in order to preserve internal resources.
4. Ask experienced persons
Ask your supervisors (previous, present and prospective), and anyone else in your immediate research environment for suggestions of where to apply. Their experiences and contacts are invaluable; science is a people business.
5. Research the internet
Here comes a list (not comprehensive!) of more-or-less useful web-pages:
- DAAD Stipendiendatenbank (Searchable database, not only DAAD Programs)
- BMBF Stipendienlotse (Searchable database, funding up to doctoral degree)
- ELFI (Searchable database, larger than the DAAD database, but search less user-friendly)
- EURAXXES (Searchable database for mobility within Europe)
- Stifterverband (Searchable database of association of more than 3000 German private foundations)
6. Contact the Graduate School
- You could prepare yourself by taking a “Grant Writing” course.
- The Graduate School may have some limited funds itself (check the homepage)
- Finally, the Graduate School’s office can provide some personal advice and guidance, but please consider that this is a very time-consuming task which can only be offered in special cases.
7. Allocate a time budget for writing applications
Invest that amount of time in only a few well-researched applications rather than trying to send out “spam” applications.
8. See the process as a valuable experience
Asking for money is an essential part in any career in science. Every success in that area is an important asset for your CV.