A quick guide to sources of research funding:
- ResearchProfessional - database of funding opportunities
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
- Wellcome Trust
- The Royal Society
In this page:
Our strong and active research community comprises many dedicated individuals who are adept at winning funding at all scales and from hundreds of sources. As a less experienced researcher you can draw on the experiences of senior colleagues and start building your own funding portfolio through funding applications for smaller items and research-related travel. We also provide training and support for you to become independent researchers and help you successfully secure your research futures.
There is a wealth of funding opportunities, and where to start looking depends on what the funding is for. From short projects or specific resources, to supporting individuals and their research, to funding large multinational collaborations and the latest high-tech equipment – there are many possible streams of financial support. Check with your School and Faculty what resources they provide (e.g. training workshops, online/printed resources, advice and information).
Start by listing the aims and scope of what you seek funding for, then examine who potential stakeholders might be. You may be able to expand this list by changing the emphasis or scope of your plans, to fulfil criteria or fit the interests of particular funders. There may be obvious funding sources, but these may be highly competitive and over-subscribed, so think laterally and research your options. Your colleagues may provide valuable suggestions.
It may be possible to build a funding portfolio or gain part-funding from several sources, such as business and industry, small or large charities, public and private institutions. Greater success in achieving funding sometimes comes from:
- Up-sizing – expanding the scope of the project or collaborating with others to give more substantial outcomes, which will attract larger funders.
- Down-sizing – limiting the project, perhaps framing it as a pilot or pump-priming activity, to reduce resources required and become eligible for smaller grants.
- Adding value – including additional activities or outputs, to fit particular funding criteria (e.g. public engagement, minority interests).
- Networking – using your contacts to build relationships with potential funders, and find or create non-standard funding opportunities.
Prospects Funding Database (Grants Register) - Whether you’re a Masters looking for funding for a PhD, or need to supplement your current postgraduate course, use this database to find funding opportunities.
Postgraduate Studentships - All types of funding or postgraduates.
Postgraduate Funding Opportunities - Our database contains details of funding opportunities available across the University. Use the search function to identify the types of funding most appropriate to your individual circumstances.
Research Grants & Fellowships
The Research Office provides comprehensive information on funding bodies and major sponsors of research at the University.
ResearchProfessional - an essential website for all researchers that provides funding opportunities and news on research policy and politics. As a member of the University of Manchester, this database also also offers emails newsletters and customised email alerts of funding opportunities, tailored to your unique requirements
Euraxess Funding Search - Search for international funding (for travel to conferences, research visits, fellowships etc), by discipline, region, or career stage.
UK Research Office (UKRO) - the UK's leading information and advice service on European Union funding for research and higher education.
CORDIS - Funding opportunities for Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
If you are interested in European funding for research, find out what our EU Funding and Development Team can do for you.
The primary avenue of funding for research staff is via fellowship schemes. Fellowships are offered by a large number of funders including the Research Councils, Leverhulme Trust, Wellcome Trust, Royal Society and many more. Each scheme is different; providing varying amounts of support and aimed at people at different stages in their career.
Before applying for a fellowship the alternative route to developing grant writing skills is to co-write a project grant application with an established Principal Investigator. You should should seek advice from your colleagues as to the opportunities for this. Depending on the funder's rules the additional contribution can be demonstrated and credit attributed in the application. For example, with Research Councils, if the level of intellectual input before and during a grant is high enough the individual can be given researcher co-investigator status which effectively gives recognition for the greater contribution. A small number of funders will allow early career researchers to apply as Principal Investigator assuming the University will underpin their appointment for the duration of the award.