Funding Your Research

by Brenda Pfannenstiel, MCMLA Research Committee

When planning a research project, it may be necessary to seek funding. Some research can be done with no funding, or by absorbing your minimal costs into your existing library budget. Larger projects will require support.

Begin by planning a budget. Include ALL expenses, including your time, travel, phone, photocopies, postage, clerical support, equipment, software, etc. Once you know what a project will cost, look for funding.

Internal grants or some degree of institutional support may be available to you. Many universities or research institutions offer internal grants, or will provide some clerical support, for example. You may be able to negotiate release time from your department to pursue a research project, which may be anything from trading two hours a week on the reference desk for two hours office time to analyze data, to a six-month sabbatical. Time is money!

Your local NN/LM–MidContinental Region office can advise you on grant applications for external support of your research project. Take a look at the NN/LM's Proposal Writing Support page. Universities and research institutions have grants offices where you might also find useful advice and assistance with the grant application process.

Where might you find grant opportunities?

There will be a lot of overlap among the MLA, NLM, and NN/LM funding resource web pages, but it may pay off to check them all for unique entries you wouldn't otherwise find.

You may also find funding through research partnership with non-librarian colleagues who are aware of grants available to members of their discipline. If you and/or your institution has membership in the Community of Science (ProQuest) or similar portals to funding databases, you may find a non-library-focused funding opportunity there.

Of course, you could always hold a bake sale!

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