Avenues for funding

At QUT, grant funding is organised into non-profit, competitive, commercial and philanthropic. This section will look at each of these in turn and the Pivot funding opportunities database.

Non-profit Top

There are many ways for you to gain external funding through non-profit organisations including academic institutions (e.g. centres for research), professional societies or associations (e.g. academic journal) and government funded bodies (e.g. Cooperative Research Centres or CRCs).

These groups offer a range of funding opportunities such as:

  • research grants
  • visiting research fellowships
  • doctoral scholarships
  • essay or media prizes
  • travel fellowships
  • mini-grants for conferences, lectures, radio and video productions, exhibits, teacher training and development of curricular materials, interpretive programs for festivals, book discussions and planning for future projects.

Your grant application may require an essay justifying why you ought to receive the grant, letters of recommendation, professional and private experiences of relevance, membership of a particular society, birthplace or place of residence, your stated career goals plus any publications and presentations to date.

  • Search in Pivot under your discipline or subject area to find non-profit funding opportunities.

Competitive funding Top

Competitive funding schemes require individuals or research groups to compete for research grants that are available to fund particular areas of research. They may be administered by large funding bodies such as the Australian Research Council (ARC) or the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Competitive funding schemes usually support discovery-style and collaborative research, and the amounts involved can be very large. They are traditionally difficult to win and they often go to established researchers with strong track records so it’s a good idea to undertake a few smaller grants to build your research track record before applying for a competitive grant scheme.

To build your track record:

  • collaborate with other researchers with proven track records in the granting environment
  • publish strategically across several streams or topic areas
  • apply for small research grants
  • publish in open access journals where possible, e.g. BioMed Central, Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Hindawi Press - research shows that open access can increase your citation rate (ask your Liaison Librarian about these resources)
  • take a sabbatical with a top laboratory or research centre.

At QUT, you may also hear competitive grants referred to as Category 1 grants. For advice and support with competitive grant round applications, contact the Research Development Unit in the Office of Research.

Commercial research funding Top

Commercial grants typically fund activities that support research and include monies for the activities and training of higher degree research students funded by corporations and businesses.

Commercially funded research projects have two components:

  1. they meet the HERDC definition of research - see Section 3 of the HERDC specifications (PDF, 597KB)
  2. they are not on the competitive grants register

Philanthropic funding Top

Philanthropic organisations worldwide offer funding for research projects and are a good avenue for new researchers as several schemes have high success rates. Types of philanthropic funding can include:

  • corporate and family foundations
  • philanthropic intermediaries
  • private ancillary funds
  • overseas foundations
  • other corporate and community support

QUT Library provides public access to grantmaker directories, books on fundraising and non-profit management, and to the Center’s electronic databases via the QUT Community Collection for Grantseekers, Fundraisers and Philanthropists. For advice and support in developing philanthropic grant applications, contact the Alumni and Development Office.

Pivot funding opportunities database Top

Pivot is a database of available local, national and international opportunities for grants, fellowships, prizes and other type of funding from both the public and private sectors. Each database record includes:

  • abstract
  • information on deadlines
  • the amount of the award
  • eligibility criteria
  • contact information.

Non-profit, competitive, commercial and philanthropic grants are listed in Pivot. When starting out in your research career, it is an excellent idea to apply for small grants where appropriate as the success rates can be higher and number of applicants can be lower, increasing your chances of success. Smaller successes also help to familiarise you with the grant application process and strengthen your track record, thus contributing towards future success with traditionally more difficult funding avenues such as competitive grant rounds.

For advice and support in the use of Pivot, contact your Liaison Librarian.

Activity - search the Pivot database Top

Search the Pivot database for possible grants available in your research field. When searching, consider some of the following points and alter your search accordingly:

  • Where you would like to conduct the research (country location)
  • The amount of funding you are seeking
  • Citizenship requirements
  • The research output

Summary Top

Consider non-profit, competitive, commercial and philanthropic avenues for research funding. As you commence your research career, apply for smaller grants to build your experience and research credibility. To build your track record further, take opportunities to collaborate with other researchers on projects, publish strategically across several streams or topic areas and publish in open access journals.