Whether your research is basic or applied, hypothesis-driven or need-driven, there are a number of online resources that can help you find the external funding source whose mission is the best fit for your research objectives.
An excellent place to start is the Foundation Center, an independent non-profit information clearinghouse. Established in 1956, the Foundation Center provides information on and access to foundations, corporations, and government institutions. The Foundation Center contains a number of invaluable research tools to help you identify prospective donors, including reports, directories, and guides that profile over 10,000 major foundations and the grants they have provided.
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) is the recommended starting point if you are seeking federal funding. Programs in the CFDA are grouped into 20 categories and over 170 subcategories including science & technology, disaster prevention, transportation, energy, and more. For each entry, there is further information on the agency administering the program, the types of assistance offered, the amount of grants they have awarded, and examples of funded projects to help you determine how closely your project matches up with previous grants.
Grants.gov is the single access point for grant programs offered by 26 Federal grant-making agencies and your source to find and apply for federal government grants.
The Community of Science Funding Opportunities is the largest, most comprehensive database of available funding, containing more than 25,000 records representing over $33 billion in funding from federal, state, and private funders.
GrantSelect is an extensive online grants database, containing more than 11,000 funding opportunities provided by more than 5,100 unique sponsoring organizations.
Guidestar is a searchable database of more than 600,000 nonprofit organizations including public charities and private foundations.
The Federal Register allows you to search for grant announcements by date range and to preview grants that are expected to be available in the near future.
FedBizOpps.gov is the single government point-of-entry for active Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000.
The Fundsnet Services website offers a variety of links to foundations and corporations.
Electronic Funding Alert Services
E-mail alert services allow you to subscribe to daily and weekly automated listings of current funding opportunities. Funding alerts often allow you to limit the search to selected criteria related to research areas and programs. Examples are provided below:
National Science Foundation Update - When you subscribe to this service, you will receive an e-mail message each time new content is added to the NSF website in the categories you select.
NIH Guide Listserv - Each week, the National Institutes of Health transmits an e-mail with table of contents information for that week's issue of the NIH Guide, as well as links to each NIH Guide RFA, PA, and Notice published.
AAAS Resources - Includes a list of where to search for funding and how to get funding.
Grants.gov - Subscribe and receive daily notifications of new grant opportunity postings and updates. Select notifications based on specific criteria such as funding instrument type, eligibility, or sub-agency.
Philanthropy News Digest – Sign up to receive RFP lists from the Foundation Center.
There are a number of federal agencies that fund a wide range of projects and programs for engineers:
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - Grants for research and development in Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
DHS - Department of Homeland Security - Grants for scientific research leading to the development of new and innovative technologies
DOC - U.S. Department of Commerce - Grants for economic growth, job creation, improved living standards, and sustainable development
DOE - U.S. Department of Energy - Grants for research in sciences and alternative technologies that facilitate energy conservation
DOL - U.S. Department of Labor - Grants for research and development on mine safety, disability employment, etc.
DOT - U.S. Department of Transportation - Grants for state and local governments to assist in the planning, design, and construction of transportation systems and improvements
EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Grants to address environmental issues; frequently for community groups and local projects
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Administration - Grants that help states and communities respond to local disasters and emergencies
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Grants that pertain to space exploration, research, and education
NIH - National Institutes of Health - Grants to relieve the burden of disease or enhance human health
NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology - Grants for research in Small Business Innovation and precision measurement, fire research, and materials science
NSF - National Science Foundation - Grants for innovative basic research in science, mathematics, and engineering
USAID - U.S. Agency for International Development- Grants for creative new approaches to development problems
USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture - Grants for rural development, i.e., housing, telecommunications, and water needs
Sites for Targeted Funding Opportunities