Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where do you find grant money for your lab?

As a young principal investigator (PI) you have to find money wherever you can. In addition you have to start thinking for places for your lab peeps to look for funding also. This is in no shape or form a comprehensive list, but they are places that have helped me stay funded during my postdoc and places where I have been trolling for grants as a starting investigator. I work on the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders so the funding sources are skewed towards my interests, but a lot of info is available on the NIH website ( Just look for the disease or organ you are interested in and each page will have a list of foundations and patient organizations relevant to the disease. Also remember the Career Development Awards (K Awards) from the NIH which you can obtain during your postdoc and transfer to your new institution: the K99/R00 Transition to Independence Award which I discussed in previous posts (here and here), and the Mentored Career Development Awards, K01 for PhDs and K08 for physician scientists.

Note: as I pick up information along the way, I have started a parallel post with helpful dates on the timelines for the foundation grants which vary widely, since it can be useful for planning when to write them. I will populate it as I go along, so please do not hesitate to post your experience on some of the other grants.

Career development awards:
Other government grants:
Foundation grants:
Fellowship resources:
  • post-doctoral fellowships for European postdocs:
     2. Human Frontiers Science Program:
     3. Marie Curie Global Fellowships: 2 year abroad and 1 year back in home country
  • pre-doctoral fellowships:
  1. NIH NRSA fellowships:
  2. NSF Graduate Research fellowship:
  3. HHMI international student fellowship:
  4. Ford Foundation Diversity fellowships:
Hope this helps and please leave a comment if you have any suggestions.

Picture credit: By Victor Dubreuil (Private collection) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Thanks for the really useful and accessible list!
    I currently have an R00 grant, and I would like to apply to the junior faculty awards. For these private foundation awards, is it necessary to come up with project and aims that are different from the R00, or can they overlap?

    1. Hi, that is tricky. The short answer is: No, they cannot overlap. Also you are supposed to spend 75% of your effort on the R00 which leaves you very little effort to give. In theory, the foundation grants should also be all relatively different from each other so that there is no overlap and you risk getting your budget cut. This said, many people send the same grant to multiple foundations hoping that one will pick it up. I applied for two grants on the same project and did my best to keep them relatively different and only had 1.5 aims overlapping and when they were funded I stated the overlap to the funding agencies, and they were fine with it. I don't think the NIH is that lenient, so if you have overlap, you may get cut (right now you get cut even without overlap...). It's a huge amount of work coming up with all these different proposals, but also kind of fun.
      I'm actually preparing a post on effort distribution, so stay tuned.

    2. I heard that the NIH only cares if there is overlap with other public funding sources, like the NSF, but not so much with private foundation grants. So this is not true?

    3. My understanding is that you have to declare scientific or budgetary overlap for every foundation or government grant you have and that they can decide to cut or not fund the grant if they thing that the research is being duplicated. The NIH and NSF will actually check if there is duplication and they will not fund duplicated grants, foundations may be more lenient if you make the case that you need the extra money to perform a different aspect of the research, but they may decide to reduce the amount of the grant. You can probably figure out strategies to work around your aims with some of the senior investigators or the grants people where you are.