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How can I obtain funding for my research?

A new support platform for the Tec de Monterrey community was launched during the 52nd Research and Development Conference.
concept illustration of a laboratory getting funded
There are different sources of external funding for research, such as Pivot. We explain further. (Photo: iStock)

Do you have a topic or ongoing research? Here are some tips for obtaining external funding, according to Isabel Kreiner and Jhonattan Miranda from the Office of Research Development (ODI for its initials in Spanish).

During Tec de Monterrey’s 52nd Research and Development Congress, (CID for its initials in Spanish) the specialists in research development shared some tips about seeking support and launched the new ODI-TEC Support platform, a space for information and access to resources for those interested in obtaining more funding.

The new ODI-TEC Support Platform

Jhonattan Miranda presented the new support platform from the Research Development Office at Tecnológico de Monterrey, which offers an extensive list of resources for those interested in applying for funding and who form part of the Tecnológico de Monterrey community, such as:

  • A guide to understanding which “life cycle” your research is in
  • Where to search for funding opportunities
  • Current guidelines and reference information about the responsibilities of technical leaders
  • Contact details of ODI advisors and requests for services
  • Downloads of the most used documents and information
  • Templates for letters and institutional budgets
  • Internal and external training resources
  • Writing tips and general recommendations
  • Open research calls and institutional funding opportunities
  • Review of documentation to be submitted for evaluation

These specialists from Tec de Monterrey’s Research Development Office recommended beginning applications a minimum of eight months before the deadline so that applicants can meet all the requirements and create a detailed calendar of activities which require funding, such as trips. (CID52 screenshot)

The ABCs of applying for external sources of funding

Isabel Kreiner, Director of the Research Development Office, explained the strategy, which consists of diagnosing the research, identifying opportunities, understanding the resources available at Tec de Monterrey, and preparing the application for funding in accordance with institutional processes.

The first step for applying is explaining who you are and where you are, because each opportunity has specific eligibility requirements.

The second step is recognizing the progress of your research and what you need funding for; “some funding sources want to see progress and not just the idea,” she explains.

You should also be aware of the different sources of external funding for research, such as Pivot, gazettes, and invitations.

For example, Pivot is a platform which includes the profiles of more than three million international researchers who are looking to collaborate, in addition to 28,000 current funding opportunities and travel grants.

When exploring opportunities using this tool, Isabel Kreiner recommends you select your area of interest, then apply filters such as your place of residence and leave the unrestricted option selected. Other suggestions are:

  • Search in English.
  • Use quote marks with keywords for a more exact search.
  • Select specific terms from your academic area.
  • Explore the type of funding available by general discipline.
  • Use the advanced search function to get detailed options.

Once I’ve chosen my funding, what happens next?

The director of Tec de Monterrey’s Office of Research Development says that when you have finished searching for and selecting funding, the next stage is to analyze the call.

“You need to ask yourself whether there’s enough time to develop a high-quality proposal, and you need to be honest. Is your idea really new? Do you have a really strong group of collaborators?” she explains.

You must understand the funding opportunity in depth, how many proposals it receives, and how many it actually funds. This will allow you to calculate the possibility of success.

Some of her tips for this stage are read successful projects from previous funding cycles or scholarships and look at the topic addressed, the name of the winning institution, and the profiles of the lead researcher and other collaborators.

“If the data is available, it’s vital to review the average amount of funding which is granted and the thematic trends which the call is usually inclined towards,” she says. And if possible, try to work with winners of the scholarship or funding from previous years.

Finally, the specialists recommend beginning applications a minimum of eight months before the deadline so that applicants can meet all the requirements and create a detailed calendar of activities which require funding, such as trips.

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Susan Irais