Funding is vital to biomedical research, but finding funding opportunities and applying for them often feels more daunting than the science itself, especially for new investigators. Now, a new offering from the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is making that process easier than ever.
Thanks to a new, weekly email service, researchers will receive a list of funding opportunities in their research areas, pulled via the web-based discovery tool Pivot, said Alison Hall, PhD, associate dean for research workforce development. The list includes available funding from the National Institutes of the Health, medical foundations, and professional organizations, among other sources.
“We’re going to seed their reports in an area we think they’re interested in and then allow them to have as many as they like,” Hall explained. Users can enroll in updates from other disciplines, or unsubscribe from the service all together, said Hall.
The idea came from a similar project by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW (Milken SPH), which already uses Pivot to send its faculty updates on funding options. Milken SPH currently applies a Pivot search for the entire school, noted Hall, but since SMHS has “an enormous range of thematic interests,” updates have been distilled into 20 specific searches, from basic neurosciences to cancer to rheumatology.
Medical students already have access to several funding databases, including Resources for Medical Students and the Opportunity Database. These include support for short-term programs for elective and summer study and travel to professional meetings, as well as long-term year-out research programs, international opportunities, and award programs. “I am urging medical students to take advantage of the funds that are sitting there right now,” said Hall. Graduate students and post-doctoral students will have similar offerings as well, she added.
The funding alerts form part of a new blog on the SMHS website called Research Matters, which will assist in enhancing research at GW. The blog will include archived Pivot alerts, allowing researchers to go back and check on opportunities they may have missed, the newly created GW researcher database, as well as posts from GW experts about specific issues affecting research. There also will be an area for researchers to offer suggestions for challenges they want addressed on the blog.
These efforts also are part of an effort by SMHS to enhance research workforce development across the school and to strengthen assistance for research funding.
“It’s a terrific venue for the conversations we’re having on research and a terrific resource,” Hall said. “I think this will make a big difference. It will make it one-stop shopping for who’s doing what at GW and what funding is available.”