13 Mar 2017

Where to Find Government Grants for Psychologists

Where to Find Government Grants for Psychologists

The government, with its relatively large budget, is still a good source of funding for researchers. Here are some government institutions that give out a significant number of grants suitable for psychologists. We've also included some grants obtainable from private institutions and non-profits.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

In FY 2016, NIH invested approximately $32.3 billion in medical research. NIH provides financial support in the form of grants to enhance health, promote healthy lives, and reduce the burdens of illness and disabilities. Researchers in the psychology field would fall into these categories.

You don’t have to be an esteemed scientist for NIH to give you money. NIH supports scientists at various stages in their careers, from predoctoral students on research training grants to investigators with extensive experience who run large research centers. NIH is committed to supporting New and Early Stage Investigator (ESIs), a category that includes early career researchers who are 10 years out from having completed their research degree.

NIH awards more than 80% of its budget in 50,000 competitive grants to more than 300,000 researchers at over 2,500 universities, medical schools, and research institutions. The average success rate of NIH grant proposals is about 19%, a percentage that has held steady for 10 years.

NIH funds several types of grants, including Career Development Awards (“K series” grants) for early career research scientists committed to research and newly trained clinicians; Resource Grants, which are “used in a wide variety of ways to provide resources to research projects or to enhance research infrastructure”; and Research and Training Fellowships, which provide research training opportunities to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees. These also provide the unique opportunity to receive funding for research training during off-quarters or summer periods to encourage research careers and/or research in areas of national need.

Here is more information on NIH competitive grants: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm.

NIH also offers writing tips, a helpful 10 step process for the grant application process, and more helpful information about getting a grant.

And, here is some good advice for NIH grant applicants, straight out of APA.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA)

While SAMHSA does not offer many grants for individuals (grants are usually offered for the purposes of institutions), early career psychologists can apply, representing their organizations, if they are using the grants to provide community services.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science, including Social and Behavioral Sciences, and receives thousands of applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, and funds approximately 25% of the proposals, a percentage that has increased over the past few years. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

You can find general listings for NSF grants here, listings for funding opportunities specifically for grad students here, and funding for postdoctoral fellows here.

Health and Human Services (HHS)

According to its website, HHS distributes the largest amount of grant funding of any Federal agency. While most HHS grant funds are given to States, approximately 32,800 grants were awarded to nongovernment agencies. Career psychologists who do not work for government agencies can apply for grants, on behalf of their employer. You can see available opportunities for individuals by visiting grants.gov and selecting “Individuals” in the “eligibility” section.

HHS also provides helpful tips for writing grant proposals.

More Government Agencies

For other government agencies, you can register as an individual to apply for grants that go directly to researchers, not institutions, at grants.gov, which is a centralized location where government agencies list their grant opportunities.

You can also learn more about navigating the grant application processes here.  

The government agencies that currently list available grants for research opportunities include the following: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Department of Justice (USDOJ), which offers research opportunities related to violence that could easily relate to social science; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Search for grants here. APA also keeps a very helpful list of government grants here.

Other Grant Opportunities

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation awards grants for research, specifically in the mental health field, to researchers at various career stages: the NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, which supports researchers at the postdoctoral level or the assistant professor level, for up to $35,000 a year for a maximum of two years; the NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant, which supports scientists at the associate professor level for up to $50,000/year for a maximum of two years; and the NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant, which grants full professors up to $100,000 for one year.

The William T. Grant Foundation offers grants to support research in the area of human behavior, ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, for applicants employed at tax-exempt organizations. These grants are specifically given for research related to youth services.

Newton’s List also offers a list of grant opportunities for researchers interested in international research.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities also has a list of current grant opportunities.

Another good place to look is the APA's scholarship, grant and award database, located here. This is a great location to find research funding, grants and scholarships awarded by APA and other psychology-related organizations.

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